Shedding light on navigation in the city

January 29, 2017

    The City – Guadalajara
    Catedral de Guadalajara

    The city we focus on this month is Guadalajara, the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco. Geographically, Guadalajara is slightly closer to the western coast of Mexico, approximately 550 km from Mexico City and embodies much of the culture the western part of the country is famous for. Once Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821 Guadalajara enjoyed a period of economic and technological growth, which continued throughout the last century; the city’s first industrial park was built in the 1940s and today Guadalajara is still known for its big IT and manufacturing industries. Hence, the city is sometimes known as Mexico’s Silicon Valley. In Andalusian Arabic Guadalajara means river or valley of stones. It would seem that the city is distinguishable by its multiple nicknames as it is also known as the Pearl of the West, because it keeps many of the rural traditions of Jalisco alive. These traditions include its world-famous exports tequila and Mariachi music, as well as attracting large crowds with annual cultural events, such as the international film festival and the book fair. The Guadalajara Metropolitan Area covers an additional seven adjacent municipalities with a total combined population of approximately 4.4 million people, this makes the city the second most populous in the country. The residents of the entire region make use of the many light rail, metro, rail, BRT, trolleybus lines and the public bike sharing system to navigate their culturally rich city.

    A joint University and Moovit project to improve the public transport information for their entire city

    Guadalajara has been available in the app for some time but the information for the city was in need of updating. However, little recorded information is readily available, meaning it was incredibly difficult to improve the information for the city. Inspired by the collaborative project between the Tec de Monterrey in Puebla and Moovit last year, Technology Professor Domingo Coss decided it was time to take action! His students at the Tec de Monterrey in Guadalajara would improve the quality and accuracy of the information available for the city’s complex transit system. As he described the potential of the collaborative transit data project as, “…allowing greater knowledge among our students about public transport, which will translate into better service by reducing wait and transfer times in our metropolitan area.”

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    Students from the Tec de Monterrey in Guadalajara celebrating completing the project

    In total, 88 technology students were involved. Due to the fact the information they needed was not readily available they each traveled the various transit lines in the city, from the origin to destination to confirm the lines’ exact paths, they then made any necessary changes to the data contained in the Moovit database. Minoru Kaneko, one of the students who traveled on the city’s bus routes to corroborate the bus route, reflected on his experience, “I got to see the city from different angles and it was fun to meet all kinds of new people.” In addition to this great feat, the students designed their own t-shirts for the project, researched the market opportunity for Moovit in Guadalajara, initiated a campus marketing campaign to grow student awareness about the app, and even created tutorial videos on getting the most out of using Moovit in Guadalajara. The finale of the project came in the form of a large event hosted on the university campus during which all 88 students received diplomas from Moovit and letters of recommendation from the Director of the University for their achievements and contribution to Guadalajaran society. Considering the project as a means to making public transport more accessible, another student, Ana Marlen Isidro Aldana, also explained to us, “Knowing that you are helping is an incredible feeling and even more if you know that the contributions you are making will have a very positive impact on the lives of the people of one of the most important cities in the country.”

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    Receiving a diploma for participating in the project

    Not originally being from the city, Aldana also reflected on the project’s impact on her personal travel patterns, “When I arrived in Guadalajara I only used taxis or uber, but I realized that in addition to sometimes being an unnecessary expense, I did not want to be one of those people who use the car to travel everywhere. I also wanted to get to know more places in the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara so I knew I should learn to use public transportation in the city. I now feel sure to tour the city with Moovit as my tool.”

    Feeling inspired by the students in Guadalajara?
    Learn more about the Moovit University Program and how you can get involved