Democratization of European infrastructure – An insightful article penned by our CEO-CTO, Alex Papacharalampous.

I will make an argument and attempt to convince you of its truthfulness; Public Transport could be a community of passengers. Weird right? You might say, public transport is a business which could be well placed under logistics, since they handle shifts, vehicles and generally complex operations. What type of community am I talking about, you might ask? Certainly not some kind of “society of lost poets”. If you really want to humour the idea, you will come up to the term “Crowd-sourcing”, the “art” of user sharing data for some reason.

Now consider this, why do people contribute to Google Maps with reviews of places and or corrections for the time-schedules? Google is also a business, no? People do it because Google Maps is a community of people that help each other get the latest information about a place and make their lives and choices easier. I am sure that you know other communities as well, such as IMDB for movies (owned by Amazon) or Reddit, the online forum for everything. There is one more thing you should know, or already know if you are a programmer; modern digital infrastructure is supported by open-source software as in, if open-source software did not exist, technological development would still be in the 90s. It was a community of people that drove this, coding, commenting, adding, removing and extending the published code.

I am not saying that everything is a community but where there is one, some standard things happen. First, people connect in some meaningful way, like reviewing in Google Maps or answering issues on Github. Second, the community has a goal, which is clear and simple to understand without even explaining it. I have never heard of Jeff Bezos talk to the masses about how helpful it is to review movies. People just know it. Third, people bring something and expect something in return while what modern communities and especially the coding community has shown us, is that this does not need to be monetary. Fourth, people will gladly share knowledge. They will also gladly share opinions (internet trolls you know who you are!). Finally, people will stand behind a flag of world and societal betterment. They will support ideas and actions that improve our world.

Public Transport improves our world, by reducing carbon emissions and space utilization in cities. It promotes physical health for both individuals and society through better land use. Public Transport is inclusive and provides equitable transportation means. They are good for the earth and our cities and can be participative through crowd-sourcing. So why is it not a community?

All communities have a medium that supports participation and as such democratizes the process, which is not the case for Public Transport. You will find that Public Transport is impenetrable and not communicative silos that operate as such first, within the organization and second, within each country. They do not share data or services that can be used by people to build communities. But shouldn’t they? Shouldn’t they allow the creation of tools to allow passengers to share data that they want to share, ideas and information that will make using Public Transport easier not only on the every-day but also strategically like, “Should this bus leave 10 minutes later since the workers in the area all get off at that time?”. We must build democratization tools that share and use information to improve Public Transport and create a community that helps make the world a better place. This is something we are already doing in TransiTool.

Author Bio:

Alex Papacharalampous CEO-CTO, AETHON Engineering

Alex Papacharalampous is the CEO and CTO of AETHON Engineering and a visionary thought leader dedicated to creating value for humanity, the environment, and our ecosystem. With expertise in engineering, AI, and innovation, Alex focuses on developing sustainable solutions to address contemporary challenges.

Alex’s extensive knowledge spans multiple domains, driving forward-thinking initiatives that enhance urban mobility and improve quality of life. He is a passionate advocate for democratizing public transit, striving to make transportation more accessible, efficient, and eco-friendly.

Connect with Alex on Linkedin for insights into sustainable development and transportation solutions.

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