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Tunisia

Enhancing Transparency in the Transport Sector (TN0027)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Tunisia Second National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry in charge of transport

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Capacity Building, Infrastructure & Transport, Open Data, Public Service Delivery, Science & Technology

IRM Review

IRM Report: Tunisia End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Tunisia Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Enhancing transparency in the transport sector

IRM Midterm Status Summary

7.  Enhance transparency in the transport sector

Commitment Text:

Providing access to public data related to the transport sector (land, sea, air) in an open format and facilitating its reuse to develop new systems and added value services, especially in the field of passenger Media (via WAP, smart phones ...).

Milestones:

  • The elaboration of a study on the project to determine the organizational and procedural priorities and to prepare the back office of the portal,
  • The definition of the technical and functional specifications of the portal,
  • Development of the portal and put it on line

Responsible institution: Ministry of transport

Supporting institution(s): None

Start date: June 2016        End date: July 2018

Context and Objectives

Most of the public transportation services in Tunisia are state-owned companies. The Tunisian transport sector, except the international marine and air lines, is overall archaic. There is no online scheduling for internal land or marine public transportation services, it is impossible to buy tickets from automated machines or plan a journey using a website or an application. The general public perception is that the public transportation in Tunisia is unreliable, overcrowded and underfunded.

The websites of the different transportation agencies do not offer updated data and the little information available is not in an open format.

This commitment lacks specificity as it does not list which agencies affiliated with the ministry are targeted by the open data portal. Although the English version does not specify this, the Arabic version lists the type of data that would be available on the portal, such as bus, metro, ports and airports stations locations, timetables as scheduled and real-time, ticket pricing and itineraries.

The commitment is relevant to access to information and technology and innovation for transparency and accountability, as it includes the creation of web platforms and GPS services. If fully implemented, this commitment would have a minor potential impact. A more ambitious commitment in this area would be to provide information about the budget spending in public transportation or the profitability of companies or lines.

Completion

The commitment completion is limited. According to the representative of the Ministry of Transport, the ministry is currently doing a needs assessment study of the portal.

Digitizing the data of the Ministry of Transport is a vast undertaking. When asked about further details the ministry plans to do the following:

  • Mapping of all the train, bus and metro stations and inserting them in a geographical database
  • Mapping of all the train, bus and metro lines in the database
  • Equipping the bus, metro and trains with GPS and connecting them to the stations to calculate delays and timing
  • Designing and implementing a portal that would aggregate the data from all the steps above

Next Steps

This commitment could be important to the daily life of Tunisians and any visitor to Tunisia. The country suffers from the poor quality of its ground and air transportation. Complaints about the national air carrier and its low quality of service are regular, impacting directly on tourism, one of the main pillars of the Tunisian economy. In greater Tunis, which is home for more than 25 percent of the total population, the lack of quality of public transportation is often pointed out as one of the main problems of the capital’s development. However, considering the progress made so far, it is unlikely that this commitment will be finished on time.

The IRM researcher recommends not carrying forward this commitment in its current form due to the lack of specificity and ambition. The new form of the commitment could include detailed budgeting on spending for each transportation company affiliated and in direct funding from the Ministry of Transportation, as most of the investment in public transportation is taxpayers’ money. The data could also include revenues of these public institutions.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

7. Enhancing transparency in the transport sector

Commitment Text:

This portal aims to provide access to the public data related to the transport sector (land, sea, air) in an open formats and facilitating its reuse to develop new systems and added value services, especially in the field of passenger Media (via WAP, smart phones ...).

Milestones:

  • The elaboration of a study on the project to determine the organizational and procedural priorities and to prepare the back office of the portal,
  • The definition of the technical and functional specifications of the portal,
  • Development of the portal and put it on line

Responsible institution: Ministry of transport

Start date: June 2016 End date: July 2018

Editorial Note: This is an abbreviated version of the commitment text. For the full commitment text from the Tunisia National Action Plan, see here.

Commitment Aim:

This commitment aimed to provide more transparency in the transport sector. The milestones include conducting a need assessment study, and the development and launch of a portal related to the transport sector.

Status

Midterm: Not Started

During the midterm, the Ministry of Transport started a feasibility study for the open data website. According to Mr. Ridha Ajroun, the government contact for this commitment, the development of the portal faced some technical challenges including the selection of a common platform to host the data. He added that each of the public transportation companies’ technical requirements is different and this difference delayed the implementation phase. As such, the completion of this commitment was limited during the midterm.

End of term: Complete

In August 2018, the Ministry of Transport launched a website that included multiple datasets. [42] The datasets contain timetables and pricing for a pilot of 27 enterprises under the Ministry of Transport. The information published includes details on the fleets of national enterprise of marine, air and ground transportation agencies. Schedules, prices, and timetables were only available for five of the enterprises. The Ministry of Transportation received help from the Financial Services Volunteer Corps (FSVC) that supports a Tunisian program named “Onshor”. [43] The support of FSVC allowed the Ministry to considerably speed up the implementation of the platform by using an Open data framework solution, CKAN (Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network), that provides an easy template to upload open data. [44] A GPS tracking component was added to the commitment later, but implementation was postponed due to lack of resources, knowledge, and time.

Although the website has been launched and therefore formally completing the commitment, the amount of data provided is still limited and the development of the platform needs improvement.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

In Tunisia, overall, information about public transport is nonexistent or limited. This commitment had promised enhanced transparency in the transport sector. The milestones, however, were ambiguous, and it was not clear how the government was going to achieve its objectives, particularly in the area of improving access to information.

Among the published data, information about pricing of most of the state-owned public transportation agencies, their fleet, and their regular timetables are available. Also, information about the major regional ground transportation stations and their addresses can be found in Open data format. However, the website does not include budgetary information and revenues, and most of the information available on the website concerns logistics. In addition, exploitation of the data is still not user-friendly.

Carried Forward?

This commitment was not carried forward.

[42] “Tunisie le Ministère du Transport adopte un portail Open Data”, L’économiste Maghrebin, https://www.leconomistemaghrebin.com/2018/10/29/ministere-transport-open-data/
[43] Ridha Arjoun, Ministry of Transport, interview by IRM researcher, 20 April 2018.
[44] Ridha Arjoun, Ministry of Transport, interview by IRM researcher, 20 April 2018.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership