New Real-time Monitoring app Helps you Avoid Traffic Delays at Border Crossings

Anyone doing cross-border trips from Kosovo* is surely not spared by the (often) hours of waiting in line at border crossings. But did you know that there’s an interactive tool that can help you plan ahead for cross-border trips and avoid traffic? It’s called ‘BorderWaits’ and is developed entirely by young adolescents trained through TechStitution, a UNICEF Innovations Lab initiative funded by Austrian Development Agency and implemented by Open Data Kosovo.

BorderWaits monitors the traffic at land borders in real time and shows the time duration one has to wait to cross each border. It also includes other features notifying users about route blocks due to weather conditions. The app was officially launched in March, 2018.

Developed by young tech enthusiasts mentored by Open Data Kosovo staff, the app is user-friendly and gathers data from 12 border crossings and generates timely videos to show the status of each border crossing point. It is also contributing in making institutions more responsive to citizens’ needs.

What’s special about Border Waits is that its algorithms automatically collect data from the National Border Management Center which functions within the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kosovo. The algorithms then automatically process the data posted on the Ministry’s page and visualize the waiting period at each of the border points to help users make decisions on the go.

Fortesa Vranja, a young adolescent from Gjilan, Kosovo, who has been extensively engaged in the development of the app says that: “BorderWaits is the first real project that I have worked on, and it was an extraordinary experience because it allowed me to put all my theoretical knowledge gained at school into practice into a practical application which will help citizens.”

TechStitution engages youth in learning practical software engineering skills by developing technologies to digitize institutions. It is a tool that connects public administration and innovation, and provides Open Data Kosovo and young people with increased opportunities to foster digital solutions into governance processes. The combined efforts of  ADA, UNICEF, and ODK on this initiative will ultimately contribute to responsive governance systems, achieve the prosperity of Kosovo and progressively realize children’s, adolescents’ and youth’s rights!

Border Waits was launched by Open Data Kosovo in cooperation with Girls Coding Kosova and The Ministry of Internal Affairs.

*All references to Kosovo are made in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999)