Beating Dhaka Traffic and rastaR Obosta! : Dhaka’s Traffic App to solve your commute sustainably

Photo courtesy: rastaR Obosta
Photo courtesy: rastaR Obosta

While the whole world is standing up to reduce their carbon foot print, the effort accepts it’s defeat innumerable times a day at Dhaka city in face of the well-known and intolerable practicality called traffic.

Traffic uses up around four times the fuel from a standstill vehicle than when on the go. It is not hard to guess that this increase in consumption is directly proportionate to the amount of gasses released from the vehicles. A primary knowledge on environment would let us know that the released gasses-namely SOx, NOx, Cox (SO2, CO, CO2, N2O, NO2)-are the prime causes behind global warming. So every ‘tick-tock’ the tires spend glued to the roads due to rush hour, congested streets, wrong parking, fallen trees,  sudden accidents or even prime minister crossing the roads, we are only contributing to erase all our past efforts in reducing the footprint. Not to mention the ruin of our plans, patience, man hours and the most valuable, time.

Ahmed Abu Bakr Photo Courtesy: rastaR Obosta
Ahmed Abu Bakr
Photo Courtesy: rastaR Obosta

While long-term policies and projects are to be kept for reliefs after a long term, we might as well do something better than pulling our hair off in frustration when our plans and efforts are ruined by one named ‘traffic’!!

rastaR Obosta might be the weapon to counter this problem. This is a free mobile application that utilizes crowd sourcing and provide traffic information of Dhaka on a map. With enough people using this app, it can be expected to give an almost real time picture of the conditions of different roads in Dhaka.  Such an app can let people avoid congested roads and make better use of time. In the grander scheme of things, it may play a part in reducing overall traffic congestion in the city.

rastaR Obosta was the brainchild of Ahmed Abu Bakr, product designer and head of business at Amader Daktar -a telemedicine project under mPower Social Enterprises Ltd. and a Dhaka resident. The idea initiated as a Facebook group where people notified the traffic conditions of different roads they were in so that they could avoid the congested routes. With the same motto, the application took its pace from January 2015 and working its way through crowd-funding with the lead of Ahmed Abu Bakr and Navid Sarwar and is in cooperation with Cyber Giant Systems Inc.  It is also supported by Footsteps. The application is designed to be available for Android, Google Play Store and Windows Phone.

Navid Sarwar Photo Courtesy: rastaR Obosta
Navid Sarwar
Photo Courtesy: rastaR Obosta

The application works to minimize our chances of falling into a prolonged traffic jam by showing stressed routes updated in last ten minutes. It is a three step work: firstly the user starts the application and chooses a road he/she is close enough to see. Second, the user chooses a color to state the condition of the road and in turn finds out the condition of the roads around reported by other users.

Study suggests that 55 percent of transportation time is wasted in traffic jams costing us nearly $3 billion of financial loss in Bangladesh (The findings were revealed at a seminar on “Traffic congestion in Dhaka and its impact on business: Some remedial measures” organised jointly by Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport at the MCCI. A huge amount of which makes the loss of fuel and environmental damage over the time. Besides this, huge national loss the impact it has on the environment and the effect of that on the physical and mental health of people can hardly be put into numerals.

Color indications to understand traffic conditions Photo Courtesy: rastaR Obosta
Color indications to understand traffic conditions
Photo Courtesy: rastaR Obosta

It has also been seen that traffic largely creates air pollution and the intolerable horns are responsible for great amount of sound pollution. Stagnant time of vehicles in traffic create static conditions that make the ‘Suspended Particulate Matters’ (SPM) breathable to human beings. This is hazardous and may even cause cancer.

The application makes it more likely for its users to find out routes that will keep the vehicle on the run, saving both our health and time and undoubtedly resulting in less consumption of fuel and energy. Keeping the people out of the hands of pollution and include them as a contributor to reducing carbon footprint and environmental pollution!

rastaR Obosta might be a solution that can allow us to plan our way with a little more surety and sustainability towards our destination.

An app for the people by the people.

Photo Courtesy: rastaR Obosta
Photo Courtesy: rastaR Obosta

To add yourself to the Facebook Group, click here. #garicholena

We will follow-up on the progress of rastaRObosta in the next couple of months. Stay Tuned!


The Daily Star | The Financial Express

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