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App developers to build digital solutions for Jordan’s public transportation system

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Sep 13,2017 - Last updated at Sep 13,2017

AMMAN — Over 50 app developers, designers and innovators will gather in Amman to build digital solutions for the public transportation sector in the first Public Transportation Hackathon, which is to be held at the Zain Innovation Campus — King Hussein Business Park on September 14-16. 

The event is organised by the public transportation advocacy group Maan Nasel, in partnership with the Centre for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE). 

In a recent interview with The Jordan Times, research and coordination manager at CSBE, Ali Attari, said that the organisation aims to improve the public transportation user’s experience through digital solutions that facilitate the process. 

“Given our position as an NGO, we can’t just go ahead and put more buses on the road, so we have decided to support the public transportation sector indirectly through the digital realm,” he explaining, adding that the event seeks to address issues such as the “incomplete transportation data, non-set bus stops and non-existent schedules”. 

Attari therefore echoes the motivations of Hackathon participants such as Ramzi Jiryes, a young app developer who subscribed to the event because “anyone with enough talent should join the hackathon and contribute to a better transportation system in Jordan”. 

“I think it’s very easy to get lost for someone who is not well versed in the situation of public transportation here,” the participant said, explaining that his objective is to develop a solution that lets commuters find buses available around their location, “just like they can do right now with taxi and private-car-based apps”. 

Participants will build on Maan Nasel’s previous efforts on creating the database used in the Khutoutna app, known as the first public transportation trip planning app in Amman. 

Founding member of Maan Nasel Hazem Zureiqat told The Jordan Times that the data will be available for participants to explore and use, providing software developers with the engine that drives the main functionalities of the app. 

“The principle behind holding this hackathon is that we believe public transportation data should be open to the public,” said Zureiqat, complaining that the open data approach is “unfortunately not shared by local regulatory authorities”. 

The hackathon will kick off on Thursday evening with presentations about public transportation in Jordan, the Khutoutna app and the available data and resources. 

Participants will then start building solutions until Saturday evening, when the different projects will be presented to the judges. 

 

From all the submitted ideas, the judges will choose three winning projects, which will be awarded with JD800, JD400 and JD200 respectively to help on their implementation. 

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