Technological change in Jakarta’s motorcycles for hire

As in many countries around the world, the advent of ridesharing apps has had a dramatic effect on transportation in Indonesia.  Arman Jalali and Rafael Milani Maderios, researchers at TU Berlin, and graduate student Faris Saffan were interested in the impact of these technologies on a particularly Indonesian form of transportation – ojeks, or small motorcycles for hire. Like for many informal modes of transportation, no official data exist on ojeks. So, to carry out their research, Faris travelled to Jakarta to collect data with Flocktracker in 2015.

Arman and his team sought to understand the differences between “smart ojeks” – those using a mobile ridesharing app – and traditional ojeks. To do this, they created a survey in Flocktracker and, after a one-week pilot with the assistance of Flocktracker staff, sent six data collectors into the field to randomly survey drivers and passengers near main public transportation hubs. After analyzing the data they collected, they learned that smart ojeks have a wider coverage area than traditional ojeks, drivers of smart ojeks report higher incomes, and users of smart ojeks report feeling safer and more satisfied.

Using data collected with Flocktracker, Arman’s team demonstrated that “smart ojeks,” or ojeks that use a ridesharing app, have a significantly larger coverage area than traditional ojeks.

Arman estimates that collecting the data with Flocktracker instead of pen and paper resulted in a 50% time savings. He also appreciated the ease of importing the data into other programs, in this case SPSS and GIS, for tasks such as statistical analysis and creating heatmaps of responses. Finally, he appreciated that Flocktracker’s cost-effectiveness allowed him to easily collect a high-quality, comprehensive dataset on a small research budget.

Arman and Rafael published their results in a recent article in Transportation Planning and Technology. After completing his Master’s, Faris returned to Indonesia to work at a German cooperative development agency.

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