Founded by Sadiq Okocha, Nigeria’s Traffix.com.ng is a crowdsourced traffic report where users work together to keep others informed of the traffic situation in Lagos. It’s algorithm can pull, read, and transform a large volume of tweets into digestible pieces of traffic information for users.
Inspired by Lagos’ horrible traffic, Okocha worked closely with the very talented team at ThinkFirst Technologies on design and programming in March 2013, launched Traffix, and two days later, the application hit over 500 registered users. Now, a year down the road, Traffix has over 5000 registered users and 26,000 twitter followers.
“Traffix started as a pet project,” says Okocha. “I was unimpressed with most things in the Nigerian tech market. Now, we’re currently building an app for Android and iOS, where we will have a free version and a paid version. The free version will display ads from any apps we release in the future via a cross promotion network. For example, all uSabi games we create would appear in in-app advertisements and vice versa, thereby fueling growth of the network as a whole. Once we’ve grown the entire portfolio of apps and games, we’ll be better able to monetize our applications.”
“Our traffic reporting is easily the most intuitive, because we improve upon the twitter experience pioneered by Gidi Traffic. What we did, was to tune out all the noise and unnecessary information on twitter and give you what matters most. Our algorithm is able to tune out product placements, advertisements, jokes and other data irrelevant to traffic,” says Okocha.
The engineer from University of York with a MS Engineering/Industrial Management and a B.Sc. Petroleum Engineering from
the University of Texas at Austin says he is not in a hurry to look for funding. He says he has been in contact with a Nigerian investor based in Berlin, however nothing has come of that yet as it’s not time yet to take any outside money. He wants to make sure that for every naira he takes, he has a clear cut plan on how to bring in several more and also wants to be in a position, where the investors need him more than he needs them, so he can negotiate more favorable conditions.
Though there is Traffix and Gidi Traffic among others, Okocha says there is need for improvement in public transit especially in Lagos to separate road different users such as those by car, bus and bicycle and says he would rather be driven around in an air-conditioned bus to and from work, than fight with fellow commuters in Lagos traffic.
Kenya has similar applications also aiming at helping road users get home or to work in time.