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Social media, civic technology and information technologies are providing great opportunities for individuals and groups to do things that help improve their community. This page describes five ways people are acting to support or provide improved transport services:

Do It Yourself (DYI) Urbanism

There are many ways people can ACT to improve transport:

Peer-to-Peer Transport

Uber homepage screenshot

Uber homepage - note the red button asking if you'd like to become a driver.

Transportation was one of the first industries to use peer-to-peer services at a large scale including such applications as bike sharing, car pooling, car sharing, and taxi services.

The many organisations and companies now operating in this field are all often called part of the “sharing economy” but it’s important to distinguish between actual “sharing” business models (where people provide services to each other via an intermediary, often community based, website) versus companies that act as brokers connecting independent contractors to passengers (e.g., Uber). These companies will significantly change the transport market.

An exellent source of information on these new mobility trends is the September 2016 report by the Transit Center Public Interest, Private Mobility outlining how cities and transit agencies can best work with new mobility services like peer-to-peer operators. 


Crowdfunding is collecting money over the Internet to do something. Most examples are products, but a growing number of civic events, projects and infrastructure are being crowdfunded. Successful crowdfunding depends on building a community, not simply obtaining funding for a project. Here’s a list of crowdfunding apps:

Patronicity’s Crowdgranting is a new idea that matches community members’ support for civic and social projects with matching grants from Sponsoring Partners.

Public Support and Advocacy

Crowdsourced support is using applications to encourage people to express their support for a cause either virtually or in the real world. There are a huge number of applications in this field ranging from generic social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to specialised applications (e.g., local neighbourhood action applications).

The important point for planners is to choose applications carefully – they all have specific markets, uses and requirements – and, once chosen, to commit the resources needed to keep them updated and relevant.

Peer-to-Peer Advice and Recommendations

There are many applications available for people to provide advice, information and recommendations to other people. Examples include:

  • Using a Twitter hashtag to communicate problems with public transport service;
  • Using Yelp to provide recommendations on public transport service;
  • Using Tiramisu to report real time conditions on public transport;
  • Answering questions from websites like Travel Advisor about local transport services.

Many reporting applications allow users to provide information on current service conditions that are then communicated through the app to other users (e.g., WAZE, Moovit, etc.).

Get Moving

Using crowdsourcing to help get people to switch modes – e.g. from driving to public transport, cycling or walking.

Go Jauntly

Go Jauntly is a smartphone application designed to encourage people to walk by providing suggested walks based on their location.

Users can develop and share their own walks.

More from Stefaan Verhulst in the GovLab Digest: Community-based app gets Londoners walking (May 2017).

Blog Posts: Act!

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