Tehran during rush hours is a nightmare where no one wants to be caught in. Some startups could help Tehran’s traffic congestion.
Tehran is a mega city with a population of 14 million during the day. This massive city has a traffic system with a capacity to maintain 2 million cars moving around the city. But when that number jumps up to 5 million, that’s where the trouble begins. Tehran’s awful air pollution is also a result of the traffic and a large number of cars roaming the city.
Tehran municipality plans to invest more than $10 Billion dollars in a 5-year plan to upgrade the cities transportation infrastructure. The cities public transportation is wide and well-connected. however, it still does not answer the high commute rate during rush hours. Tehran’s public transportation is moving to rails and busses with metro being the main backbone. Up to 4 new metro lines are under development to further aid Tehran’s traffic congestion and the high demand from the passengers. In some global traffic congestion rankings, Tehran is placed among top 20 or 30 traffic-congested cities in the world.
What startups and services can exist to further help public transportation or in some way lowering the traffic?!
Trip planners typically play a big role in passenger’s life when it comes to public transportation. Trip planners have the database of a cities metro and bus stations with their scheduled time of arrivals. By using GPS and mapping, a passenger can plan his or her trip using this app and get the best route and timing. These kinds of startups play a huge role in promoting public transportation. Services like Google Transit are not operational in Iran.
Bicycle sharing or public bicycle system is a service where bicycles are made available for shared use for the desired time to get from point A to point B. This service is usually done by the local municipality or startups. Tehran municipality has started to provide this service right now however the service system is not yet optimized for a passenger to get a bicycle from one station and deliver it to another station. It seems that the purpose of this particular bicycle sharing system is to promote bike riding has a physical activity rather than a transportation method. Tehran also has another problem. The city is on the mountain side meaning that there are many tilts and slopes which make it hard to cycle for a long period of time. Central and southern part of Tehran, however, seem a better location as it is flatter comparing to the northern part of Tehran.
Ride sharing is also a great transportation method which could help in moving passengers. This method is being done in Iran in an old fashioned way. None authorized cars accept passengers in a single route way which is very common when it comes to transportation. This method does not exist in a more innovative way and a reason for this could be the fact that the current traditional solution is answering the current problem’s needs.
Traffic monitoring and analytics
Traffic monitoring apps go a long way when deciding which route to take especially at rush hour. Tehran’s municipality has released it’s traffic data publicly, however, this data is proven to be not 100% accurate and there are still no startups to gather these data and mix them with a mapping and routing service for use. Google Traffic is currently the best solution when it comes to monitoring traffic in Tehran as it gathers crowdsourced data from drivers thanks to its Waze acquisition. These services could be a game changer when it comes to Tehran traffic congestion.
Uber like taxi services
Call Taxis in Tehran are from thousands of taxi agencies found in each neighborhood. These taxis are ordered and sent from the Taxi agencies HQ. They will take you to your destination and drive back without any passengers back to the HQ. In Uber-like taxi services, when a passenger is dropped off another passenger is acquired nearby. This is more efficient and is better for the traffic congestion as there will be less empty-passengered cars driving from one side of the city to the other. Looking at Tehran’s traffic many cars with only passengers can be seen.
Every problem sparks opportunity. The heavy traffic witnessed in major Iranian cities especially Tehran could become a good opportunity for entrepreneurs to come up with innovative solutions on this subject.
Photo credit: Arash Razzagh Karimi