Towards a Standard for Paratransit Data: Lessons from Developing GTFS Data for Nairobi's Matatu System

For millions in the developing world, citywide transportation options are limited to informal networks of unofficial, often unsanctioned, independent paratransit operators. While paratransit systems provide key transportation infrastructure to developing cities, they do so with serious drawbacks and at a level of efficiency below that which is expected of traditional public transportation. Significantly, at a time in which technology, data and interconnectivity play an ever increasing role in improving public transit, cities which rely to a significant degree on paratransit largely operate in the dark –little data exists, even for key information such as routing, stop location and fares. By leveraging technology, this information deficit can be alleviated. Through on-the-ground research in Nairobi, the authors show that specialized data-recording phone apps, utilizing the integrated GPS tracking function of mobile phones, can effectively and efficiently capture important transit information. For the first time, the paratransit networks of Nairobi are mapped, and key information such as route, stop location, schedule, and fare is recorded and available for use. Importantly, the authors demonstrate how to integrate paratransit data into the global transit data format GTFS, the standard used by formal systems around the world to support the development of applications and tools that relay key data to users, operators and planners.  

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AP060 Paratransit. Alternate title: Toward a Standard for Paratransit Data: Lessons from Developing General Transit Feed Specifications for Nairobi's Matatu System, Kenya
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Klopp, Jacqueline
    • Mutua, Jackson
    • Orwa, Dan
    • Waiganjo, Peter
    • White, Adam
    • Williams, Sarah
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2014


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References;
  • Pagination: 19p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 93rd Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01519422
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 14-5280
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 25 2014 11:55AM