Get to know the Jobs Open Data Challenge Finalists: Bus Start
What is your product?
Bus Start designs bus routes that connect people with jobs. By working with city governments, communities, and private companies we will make more jobs and better jobs the goal of our public transport.
Who is on your team?
Thomas Forth is an associate at ODILeeds and the founder of imactivate. He leads the ODILeeds Challenge Team who solve problems using open data.
Nick Efford is a senior teaching fellow in Computing at the University of Leeds.
Sanne Velthuis is a PhD researcher at the University of Coventry. She is investigating low-paid work and factors affecting workplace progression in the UK. She was previously an intern at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
How did you come up with the idea, when and what was the light bulb moment?
In the thirty years since deregulation bus use in Leeds has fallen by 30%. In the same period, ridership in London, where buses were never deregulated, has doubled.
In most UK cities public transport's primary purpose is to take old people to the shops, not to take the unemployed and low-paid workers to better jobs. We became convinced of the importance of this in 2013 when analysing bus routes in West Yorkshire. We saw that Bradford West, one of the most deprived constituencies in the UK, was largely detached from the growth central Bradford and Leeds.
What open data are you using and how does it form an essential part of your proposition?
We are using census data on where people live, where they work, and what type of work they do and open geography data to map this. For bus routes, we are using the NaPTAN dataset to investigate where current buses go.
The algorithms that we develop will rate bus routes on how well they connect people with jobs.
How will your project help help people help people get better jobs or create new jobs?
The UK has been exceptionally good in Europe at creating jobs. It has been very poor at increasing productivity and creating productive jobs that pay well. Millions of low-paid workers live in poverty despite having jobs.
By shifting the focus of public transport towards creating more and better jobs in the UK's cities we will help these people achieve more at work.
Find out more about Bus Start and what they are up to by checking out their website: www.imactivate.com/busstart
Photo Credit: Alex Mead under Creative Commons
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