Mapping the beautiful chaos of informal transit
August 27, 2015 11:01 AM Subscribe
This sounds like controlled chaos, although it more or less describes how transit works in much of the world outside of North America and Europe. But amid the 130 or so unregulated matatu lines in metro Nairobi, there's an admirable logic.
- How Nairobi got its ad-hoc bus system on Google Maps (example)
- How we mapped the world's weirdest streets.
Matatus are small buses that carry anywhere between 14 and 25 passengers. The vehicles are leased by teams of two: a driver and a “tout”. The tout is responsible for collecting fares; the driver for getting passengers to their destination as quickly as possible. And with more than 20,000 independent matatus in Nairobi, the pressure to maximize revenue is intense. Hence the beautiful chaos of Nairobi’s roads: Matatu drivers will do anything to bypass traffic — weaving in and out of lanes, hopping up onto sidewalks, chasing ambulances… you know. The usual.- Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in a major African city knows how key the informal transit network is. Whether it’s kombis in Durban, molues or danfos in Lagos, informal modes of transportation are easily the cheapest and most effective ways of getting around the city of your choice. The problem with these networks is that it requires a lot of insider knowledge.
- MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning: Digital Matatus
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments