No More Tro-Trouble was developed as part of RHOK 2012 and the Peace Corps Innovations Challenge. It is a simple app to facilitate real time communication between passengers and private transportation tro-tro operators in Ghana.
In Ghana, like much of the developing world, people use a lot of shared transportation. The lowest cost form of shared transport is the tro-tro which is a privately owned van that sells tickets to the public. Using the tro-tro system is a frustrating experience for Ghanaians, but remains the only option for lower income individuals. Usually this means that you show up to a station buy a ticket and then wait an unknown amount of time until all the other tickets for the car are sold. In many cases this means waiting around in the car and wasting a lot of time. For some that are traveling to remote location this means waiting for hours with no guarantee that the car will fill up. If it doesn't the driver may stay in town and the passenger may be stranded.
Typically the system works in two ways. The “station model” is when passengers show up to a station and buy tickets from a central ticketing station. This person usually is selling tickets for 2 or more cars. Passengers buy a ticket and wait, usually in the car. The car will leave once all the tickets are sold. The “line car model” is used along main roads where there is no station. For these tro-tro’s routes, a car will travel between two stations, picking up passengers along the roadside if they have room. This is another frustrating experience as passengers must stand on the road for an unknown amount of time asking each car where it is going until they find their desired car.
Aside from just being frustrating this is a major issue throughout the developing world as most lower income populations depend on shared transportation. It is also a major barrier to upward mobility because so much time is wasted by lower income passengers who are forced to use the tro-tro system making it difficult for them to compete with individuals that can afford a personal car. Teachers can't go teach at school on the days they need to wait for a car. Other workers can't get to work.
Team: John Croft; Jack Croft; Christopher Miller; Daniel Flores; Zoe Nuhfer; Patrick Coquette; Anthony Fynn; Mark Nuhfer
Progress At December 2012 Event: Operational Prototypes- database structure; web site. Android app. Coordinated with DC Team working on SMS-based version. Reached out to potential users and testers in Ghana.
The application can be placed on the Peace Corps Knowledge Management Exchange for any volunteer to download, use and give feedback.
It would also become part of Peace Corps initial pre-service training as a tool available for them during their service.