DOTC launches ‘Transit App Challenge’


MANILA, Philippines – Every commuter’s nightmare is getting lost in the middle of the metropolis and not knowing which public transportation will convey them to their destination. Making matters worse are criminals waiting for unsuspecting and confused victims.

An app may soon change all that.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is launching an app development competition dubbed “The Philippine Transit App Challenge” that invites software developers to create apps which utilize the DOTC’s huge database on public transportation.

“We expect it to bring out a lot of innovation from software developers.  The goal is to create all sorts of apps which will make commuting in Metro Manila much more convenient,” DOTC spokesman Migs Sagcal said in a statement released Monday.

“The point is to empower the public with better decision-making abilities using our data.  This project stems from government’s effort to look at public service delivery from the viewpoint of the end-user, and to make commuting better for everyone,” Sagcal said.

For the competition, the DOTC is making available its Philippine Transit Information Service (PTIS) database, which contains information from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3), the Philippine National Railways (PNR), the Land Transportation Franchising & Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (CITOM).

The PTIS, which was previously not publicly available, will contain data regarding bus, train, and jeepney routes, and “live traffic incident data streams in both Metro Manila and Cebu City.”

The Philippine Transit App Challenge is set to be formally launched on July 2, Tuesday, and will be open to any developer or firm as long as one member must be a permanent resident of the Philippines.

The apps will be evaluated based on the following criteria: addresses the problem statement(s) and solves a real user’s needs, quality of user interface, technical and operational feasibility, economic and financial sustainability, creativity and innovation, use of Open Data, Open-Source code, and the agencies’ existing platforms, and public voting.

The developers with the best transit app will win P100,000. Other awards include the People’s choice app which will be decided through online voting.

The three-month long competition will be a “hack-at-home” event, allowing developers to “create apps at their own pace and on their own time, using the same datasets provided to them,” DOTC said.

In the final app, commuters should be able to see all available routes to a particular destination, how many transfers from one form of transportation to another they will take, and even the estimated travel time to get there.

Asked in a phone interview if the apps developed could help alleviate the traffic situation in Metro Manila, Sagcal said that the apps will focus mainly on helping commuters find their way better and not on easing traffic congestion.

“With traffic, that’s incidental, and anyway that’s already there, [the apps might] help with the traffic management aspects but mainly it’s to help passengers plan their trips better,” he said.

“They’ll be able to find out what their options are, which one is cheapest, fastest. The point really is passenger convenience,” Sagcal said.

Private-vehicle owners might also use the apps to see if they will be passing through jeepney routes

More details about the event are available on the competition’s official website,

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  • robin

    the best way for DOTC is totally remove lahat ng jeepney, independent bus operator, taxes, motorcycle sa kalsada. Bid it out in 1 or 2 company to monopolized and improved our transport system this is just a waste of time still not convenient. It will also centralized yung payment system similar system na ginagamit sa singapore lahat connected coz only few operators.. Wala pa yung rally2x na yan.. you can just hire this drivers safe pa sila kaysa style ngaun

  • johnvforeighner

    Your are trying to close the gate after the horse has run away.

    The best way is for the DOTC to redesign the transport system from scratch, create a consultative document, then inform all transport companies to submit their wants and requirements. From the information submitted, develop an official transport guide that has to be used by all, you will need to build proper bus terminals etc..

    The only problem is, it will not work, as the drivers will do what they want anyway, and the police will ignore the transgressions for 20 pesos, so why bother??

  • Nic Legaspi

    An app that would give commuters all the info they need during commutes would surely give the riding public a huge benefit. Unfortunately, this app can only do so much when our existing transportation network is already bursting at the seams. Just today, cabs and jeeps are either TOO full or cannot be found anywhere. Queues in malls and other transportation hubs contain hundreds of people stranded. And it’s not even raining! The DOTC should really include more mass rapid transport options in their PPP list.

  • carlorocci

    This application will become useless if chaotic transportation system in Metro Manila will still prevail. There is no Bus Schedule System, Bus can load and unload its passengers everywhere. Close the hell of gates first before this kind of apps challenges.

  • Juan Dela Cruz

    will it also contain info on mal/non-functioning traffic lights, and deployment locations of kotong cops and useless traffic aides?

  • Mux

    Nice idea! I suppose the best programmers will submit their best apps, then the DOTC will say that none of the apps won, modify the best app and claim some “ghost contestant” won it and use it and sell it to the public without paying the original programmer. Ay… corruption!

  • gilbs72

    Try GrabTaxi PH for android. :)

  • PaoloUmali

    I like this initiative. Challenge accepted.

  • ThisGuy

    Here’s how its gonna go down:
    1. Create the best app ever
    2. Urge people to use it
    3. Crimes relating to mobile devices loss will rise 5000%

    • marienkind

      Yeah i was just waiting for this kind of comment. We just have to have one useless, irrelevant post coming from an uneducated drain to society who somehow managed to connect to the internet without managing to choke on his own saliva.

      • ThisGuy

        I’m also waiting for this kind of comment. Someone who writes a ten-seconds worth of rhetoric just to look silly. And oh, I DID choke on my own saliva while connecting to the internet, so +1 for me.

  • marienkind

    I’m loving how they made available their current tools and how everything’s OSS. WTG

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