Lagos Needs This Code

Lagos Needs This Code

With 25,000 students and United States’ highest transportation costs, by school district, the Boston Public School District needed a better way to get kids to classes. They turned to an algorithm to route the school buses. Simply, a team of researchers wrote a code to optimize school bus routes, helping the public school system save $5 million.

With no clear vendor to turn to with this problem, BPS instead sought out experts, hosting a competition where researchers could experiment with anonymized BPS data sets to create efficient routes and optimal start times for each school


So the team worked to swap the start times of high schools with elementary schools in the district, and optimize the start times based on route feasibility, teen health, parent preferences, and equity. Their school start time algorithm explored the tradeoffs to different start times, and found a balance point between all considerations. If it had been deployed, it would have changed the number of teenagers with early high school start times from 74 percent to just 6 percent.  

I am very confident that Lagos needs that type of code for the public transportation network, and (who knows) the privately-run danfo, molue and taxis. But a code for Apapa Port may have to come first for trucks entering and exiting the nation’s largest port terminal. Software can “eat” most of the paralyses in Nigeria.

Boston did not award any contract – it simply opened a competition and asked the geeks to submit codes and test with anonymized city data. May the best code win. The best won and Boston is keeping $5 million yearly as saving. Nigeria needs to open fixing Apapa gridlock to our techies to help. I promise you that our young people will fix that problem immediately if the big people can just make way!


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4 thoughts on “Lagos Needs This Code

  1. Our headmasters in babaringa, agbada and suits told us they are working hard to fix Nigeria, the only thing that is unclear is whether the fixing will be in our lifetime or long after we are gone.

    Again, anything that doesn’t look like it can help make already fat party men fatter is never a good proposition.

    While we wait for them to shift one side, let’s keep stimulating our brains.

    This Nigeria we think may require 100 years to be fixed can actually happen within two decades, unfortunately you cannot reinforce wrong and get right as outcome.

  2. We can fix a lot of problems in Nigeria with the right incentive systems, in Boston, without payment they could get alot of coder to code for free and solve their problem because according to marslow hierachy of needs, they had already fulfilled the basic needs and doing for free could solve theself fulfillment and psychological needs of the coders. Presently in apapa, the incentive is for the gridlock to continue as the law enforcement is profiting from it, and no one is punished for doing wrong there, the transporters profit for exhorbitant rates and are incentized to buy more trucks and send to the port just to queue up there, the shipping company profit from demurrage charges. Only the truck drivers and private.citizens suffer from it. We need to change the incentive system. We.should reward good behaviour and punish bad. The actors in the system have to benefit from making it better.


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