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Special Correspondent: IBM Works to Enhance Public Transport in Nigeria

Department of Public Transportation Headquarters in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria. Photo by Drew Alt.

It’s 4:00 p.m. on a Wednesday and I am sitting shirtless at a hotel in southeastern Nigeria.  I am not at the office because electricity from the grid was no longer and there was no diesel for the generator.  My laptop gave me the “I need juice, please” message then promptly shut down.

I arrived in Nigeria in February 2010 as part of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps, a program that sends teams of “IBMers” for short-term consulting assignments in emerging markets.  With me are 14 other top employees from around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hungary, India, Japan, Malaysia, Holland, United Kingdom, and the United States.

For the next four weeks I will be working with the Department of Public Transportation (DOPT) to enhance the management and operations of the public transport system in Cross River State.  Together with my project partner Vicky Chin, from IBM Canada, we have been asked by the DOPT to tackle three main objectives:

  1. Conduct a feasibility study to determine how information and communication technology (ICT) can best be utilized within the public transport system
  2. Develop a strategy for the integration of the private sector into public transportation delivery in Cross River State
  3. Develop a communications strategy for marketing transportation routes to residents and visitors of Cross River

You may be asking yourself, “Why is Drew blogging on TheCityFix”?  The short answer is that while conducting research around transportation best practices in the developing world, I was referred to EMBARQ, the producer of this blog, by a colleague who helped implement a bus rapid transit system in Mexico City.  The longer answer is that I noticed there was little discussion about transportation systems and issues in Africa on TheCityFix  I hope to both learn from and educate others about how issues faced by the Department of Public Transportation in Cross River State, Nigeria, are both similar and different than issues faced in Mexico City, Mumbai, or Washington, D.C. Questions and comments are most welcome.

Until next time,

Drew

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Drew Alt is a Senior Consultant within IBM Global Business Services in Washington, D.C.  He is currently on assignment for IBM in Calabar, Nigeria, with the Department of Public Transportation.  Follow Drew on his blog at http://www.ibm.com/corporateservicecorps/blog/1950 or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/drewfalt

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