Oruro is a Bolivian city that is flooded with tourists one day a year – for the annual Carnival of Oruro, held this year on February 19. A pair of citizens, Henry Flores and Jhonny Lazarte, decided to help those visitors (as well as locals) to find their way around the city with a new public transport app. The new app, called Quirqui Rutas may have helped keep the streets a little less cluttered with cars this year, making more room for the festivities.
Flores and Lazarte, worked closely with Trufi Association, to get the app ready. Named after the “quirqui,” a regional word for armadillo, the app was conceived, developed and launched in record time – about two weeks – leveraging the open source Trufi Core code base.
Demonstration of Quirqui Rutas by Jhonny Lazarte
At city hall in Oruro, Lazarte demonstrated the application and took questions from the press.
A Multinational Effort – 115 Routes
Flores and Lazarte did the hard work of physically mapping the bus routes: riding buses, and verifying the routes using their local knowledge. Meanwhile in Colombia, students from the Salesian College in Duitama helped to digitize the routes accurately into OpenStreetMap. The team mapped 115 routes, covering the city as much as possible.
In Cochabamba, Bolivia, home of the original Trufi App, volunteers helped preparing the back end server and the mobile apps for Android and iOS app stores.
Beyond the Carnival
The Carnival of Oruro was an opportunity to launch the app, but Florez and Lazarte know that having a digitally mapped transport network for the first time opens up many possibilities.
“We also think that this is the basis to be able to do more work on urban transport in our city,” said Lazarte.
The transport data developed for the app, known as GTFS, is the data standard used by city planners, transport managers, researchers, and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) innovators. The data can be used to develop new insights into the transport needs of Oruro, and develop new mobility services for the city.