In Chisinau, the current transportation system and the related infrastructures are obsolete and present a major concern for mobility. Our survey “How is life” (UNDP and City Hall) highlighted long commuting times, underserved areas and improper transport network distribution (Figure 2) as the main challenges for citizens concerning transportation. In addition, certain groups living in the outskirts, such as the people with disabilities, face difficulties when commuting, generating an important social and economic cost and impeding the inclusion of such dense social groups (Figure 1). As a consequence, due to the poor public transportation system, citizens are switching to private transportation. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in 2017, Chisinau Public Transit Services registered only a 4% increase in the number of passengers, while the number of private taxis increased by 23%, in the same year (NBSs, 2017).
Figure 1: Population density and access to public transportation
Figure 2: Public transport network distribution
The project is aimed at supporting improved mobility and use of public transportation by at least 5%, by mapping the user journey and crowdsourcing new locations and routes for bus stops that respond to the needs of residents. The experimentation of this initiative intends to achieve two elements. First, increased level of end-users’ participation, through a gamification platform that allows citizens to suggest practical solutions to improve the current transportation system. Secondly, improved availability and accessibility, as measured through an urban data collaborative cube, a virtual space in which all partners share their data, collecting big data and timely insights on urban mobility patterns and behaviors. The results will be benchmarked against selected indicators under SDG11 (% of population with convenient access to public transport in urban context).
The outcomes expected are an increase in mobility of residents from the outskirts of the municipality, as well as a decrease in the number of private cars used. Indirectly, increased mobility is an opportunity for the private sector to generate new jobs, contribute to infrastructure development, and design and test new business models. Ultimately, successful implementation may lead to accelerated learning for the city and exchange of good practices with other municipalities.