Last week’s blog was all about back to school tips. One of the tips was to get involved in extracurricular activities, like joining the Moovit University Program. This got me thinking about joining forces with other like-minded individuals to get something important done, like mapping out your local bus route. Not only does something like this give back to your local community, it also provides you with that sense of community and belonging.
Moovit has been recognized as the Wikipedia of Transit, given its impressive Mooviter Community program of over 400,000 local experts who help Moovit provide its users with the most accurate transit data.
I spoke with Leo Chanea, Moovit’s Global Head of Community, to learn more about the history of the program, how and why it’s had such monumental growth, and what’s next for this Community.
Community is essentially a group of people who share a common vision and act together to realize that vision. This strong vision is the basis for creating a solid community program. At Moovit, the vision is about a world with better urban mobility for all.
“Mooviters” are Moovit’s local editors. The Mooviter Program is a global movement of people who not only wish for a better experience moving around their cities, but have decided to contribute their time and knowledge to improve local mobility via the Moovit app.
In early 2012 before the launch of the Moovit app, Roy Bick (one of Moovit’s founders) decided to go out on the streets and map the location of all the transit stops and lines in Tel Aviv (where the Moovit app began.) He wanted to provide the information in a more structured way for other commuters in the city, making their travel easier. Roy’s successful app became the foundation of Moovit. After Moovit was running in several cities, we wanted to see if other people around the world could map their cities, so we built some mapping tools and started to invite locals to join forces with Moovit. Moovit would bring the tools, the Mooviters would bring the local knowledge, and together we would improve local mobility for everybody. Seeing the first city to be fully mapped and launched by the Community was a magical moment and proved that we were moving in the right direction. After that, it was a matter of scaling up the program.
The Moovit University Program empowers local students to make a difference in their communities by joining the Mooviter Community and mapping local lines. We’ve run the project in different countries, like he U.S., Mexico, Turkey and Greece. Students get together to collect and map transit info and make it available to all via the Moovit app. In Mexico, dozens of university students have mapped hundreds of stops and lines and improved the lives of more than a million of their fellow-citizens who now have all the information about the local public transportation system in the palm of their hands.
Anyone can join the Mooviter Program and contribute. If you share the vision and are willing to make a positive impact in the world of transportation, all you have to do is to sign up and participate. At the moment, more than 400,000 Mooviters from more than 150 countries already have signed up to the program. Sign up here.
Within the Mooviter Community, there’s a smaller group of extraordinary Mooviters who have shown that they are a dedicated contributor and have what it takes to become a leader in their communities. “Ambassadors” get access to exclusive events (online and also in-person), receive Moovit swag, have the chance to meet other like-minded individuals from around the world, improve their leadership skills and get public recognition for their contribution to society. In other words, they are the most engaged of the Mooviter Community.
There are many companies doing it well. Waze is a good example, with similarities to our program. Wikipedia, of course, is an icon of crowdsourcing. And there’s an app called BeMyEyes that is worth mentioning for their beautiful work connecting visually impaired people with volunteers who can see, basically crowdsourcing sight.
There are several. Once a group of Mooviters from six different nations got together to do an armchair mapping project that resulted in the mapping of all the transit lines of Barbados. One of my favorite stories, however, is from one of our Brazilian Ambassadors. He was riding a bus wearing his Moovit t-shirt and was approached by a random girl who wanted to thank him for making her life better with the Moovit App. We are always happy to see our Mooviters getting recognition for their efforts, and simple encounters like that are the fuel that gets us all moving forward.
Mapping transit together.
We’re constantly experimenting with new programs. You’ll see us promoting more in-person events in the future so Mooviters can interact face-to-face with each other, creating a much stronger sense of community and friendship.
Community building is a very interesting area that’s always attracted me. We can address big, complex challenges by reaching out to others who share the same vision and form a strong community with them. It fascinates me to be able to build the framework and the tools that will eventually empower a large group of people to make an impact in an area that they are passionate about.
We’re a group of 15 people working on the Mooviter Program, a multi-cultural team fluent in about 10 languages.
We’re constantly creating new tools and interfaces for people to contribute information and become part of the community, so we’re definitely talking in the order of millions of Mooviters.
For more information about the Mooviter Program and how to get involved, click here.