MyTehran is one of the flagship projects of the Smart Tehran Program acting as a unique window for delivering Urban Services to Tehran Citizens.
MyTehran is a mega application that acts as the unique window of delivering Municipal and urban services to Tehran Citizens. This project is unique in the Middle East and represents a user-friendly and reliable interface both for citizens and businesses for easy and fast access to versatile services such as Online Housing and Construction Services, Urban Location-based Services, and On-Street Smart Parking.
MyTehran as well consists of a handful of payment services like Citizen’s Account and e-Wallet, Traffic and Low Emission Zones Allowances, Utility Bill, Municipal Fares and Car-related Payments, Urban Micro e-Payment, and Integrated e-Ticket System. MyTehran is also used as an integrative and collaborative channel for communicating with citizens and receiving their feedback, requirements, objections, etc. as well as sending them notifications and alerts. Citizen Cartable is as well an important part of this application which provides transparent information about the citizens’ affairs with the Municipality. This has led to a strong platform of Services Delivery and Collaboration with citizens while fostering the stable revenue streams of the municipality.
Background and objectives:
Fulfilling the requirements of citizens in Tehran, as one of the most populous cities in the world with more than 10 million people during the day, does not seem to be easy. However, with the current efforts of Tehran Municipality responding to the current challenges of Tehran is easier than ever before. One of the greatest efforts in this regard is the development of MyTehran, a mega application created for various purposes some of which are the well-being, satisfaction, and engagement of Tehran citizens; providing user-friendly and integrated services; digital transformation; E-government development, promoting startups, more communication with citizens, and special corona-related services during the pandemic.
Creating an orchestration between different bodies of local government is the main challenge of providing user-friendly services for Tehran citizens. So due to Smart Tehran Vision for transforming Tehran to be a smart sustainable city, we planned to migrate from the silo-based urban services provision approach to a single Digital Service Provider (DSP).
Before starting the Smart Tehran Project, most of the municipal services required the physical presence of citizens. At present, though, MyTehran has obviated the need for physical presence and also for logging in to multiple websites by integrating all online services for Tehran citizens. This application offers more than 40 services and has more than 3 million users. MyTehran is also used as a collaborative channel for communicating with citizens and receiving their complaints, and also used as a strong platform for collaboration with startups and businesses.
There are evolutionary steps, as the project has been evolving from only displaying all online services to integration of them in terms of required software and hardware resources for service provision, and consequently, benefiting from hosting, cross-data analysis, and unified service development.
The business idea of MyTehran is the integration of several online urban services for citizens. It started in April 2018 with citizen account registration for entering Tehran Low Emission Zones (TLEZ). After that, more than 40 services were continuously added to My Tehran as the unique window of Smart City Services and now with around 3 million users, it is one of the largest Urban Platforms of its kind.
The project is unparalleled in the Middle East, due to the number of users and its systematic access to the national and urban services and provides a user-friendly and reliable interface both for citizens and businesses for easy and fast access to versatile services such as Online Housing and Construction Services, Urban Location-Based Services and On-Street Smart Parking. MyTehran as well, consists of a handful of payment services like Citizen’s Account and e-Wallet, Traffic and Low Emission Zones Allowances, Utility Bill, Municipal Fares and Car-Related Payments, Urban Micro e-Payment and Integrated e-Ticket System and all these happened in about 2 years.
In order to meet the requirements of Tehran citizens and businesses, this integrated application has included versatile services minimizing the need for physical presence which is of the essence especially for reducing pollution as well as the number of patients infected with the coronavirus. The importance of remotely-provided payment services is undeniable as people deal with them daily. Some of the payment services on the app are:
- Utility bill
- Municipal fares and car-related payments
- Traffic and Tehran Low Emission Zones (TLEZ) charges
- Urban micro e-Payment and integrated e-Ticket system.
- On-street parking service
- e-Toll payment system
- Citizen’s account and e-Wallet
In terms of social benefits which foster economic factors, there are some services including:
- Citizens’ reports & evidence through video, photo, and location via 137 hotline service
- Publishing announcements and alarms relevant to COVID-19
- Emergency call to report disease
- Phone advice on COVID-19
Enhancing citizen engagement is our main strategic development goal. So the following new services are under development:
- BarBarg (app for issuing freight documents online)
- Ride-hailing services
- Direct debit
- Virtual tour
- Bus & taxi fare mobile payment via QR code scan
Indeed, MyTehran has taken advantage of new technologies and ICTs so as to make this app as friendly and useful as possible. This app, as mentioned above, incorporates several payment services including “Citizen’s account and e-Wallet”, “e-Toll Payment System”, “Urban micro e-Payment integration”, and “Integrated e-Ticket system” which can fall into the category of Fintech. This causes the services coverage to increase among citizens while fostering the stable revenue streams of the municipality. Additionally, “Tehran Interactive Map & Routing System (RAYA)” and “Virtual Tehran Tour” fall in the category of location-based services (LBS) which incorporate GIS data layers that are driven from dedicated and precise government data gathering and lead to a unique business advantage for local service providers. Moreover, providing APIs (application programming interfaces) to private sectors to enable them to bundle MyTehran services into their services portfolio is another option of the project which has been made operational through “Smart City Services Delivery Platform (SDP)”. Finally, employing Business Intelligence (BI) through “Citizenship Club” is considered in order to increase the user loyalty of the app.
Results and impacts
One of the project’s contributions to long-term citizen well-being is its integration of the urban services in a single platform which together with payment services have resulted in reducing daily commuting of citizens. Moreover, this app includes a map (Tehran Map) with more than 250 data layers which enables personalized multi-modal routing, displaying the address of adapted and accessible places, for example for disabled people, and displaying the traffic status. All of them have led to reducing traffic congestion as well as reducing carbon emission in many cases. These results, all are intended to benefit citizens and cause them to be healthier and happier.
The app’s vast coverage is a significant KPI for reaching governance efficiency and citizen satisfaction impacts. The Big Data platform which is created on the MyTehran has led to deep insights on citizens’ needs and businesses’ requirements.
After two years of MyTehran launch, below are the key statistics:
- 4 million registered users
- 3 million cars
- 4 million houses
- 450K transactions per day
- 68% growth of citizens’ satisfaction on the app in last year
- Integration to more than 40 services inside and outside Tehran Municipality
Barriers and challenges
Nowadays, because of increasing urbanism, most cities are encountered challenges such as traffic jams, air pollution, and a high volume of citizens’ demands for urban services. In such situations, there is a need for a single one-stop portal offering most services online which leads to the integration of silo-based urban services. Creating harmony between different bodies of local government was the main challenge of providing user-friendly services for citizens. Therefore, overcoming this challenge led to the integration of silo-based urban services. Citizens’ take-up of these online services is a good measure of their digital readiness. Such readiness paves the way for further tech-edge developments and shows the socio-economic potential of such services.
Because of the legal role and operational capability of the Tehran Municipality ICT Organization (TMICTO), the organization is responsible to gather different municipal data. Further, it has the proper infrastructure for hosting such data and benefits from skillful experts (under Smart Tehran Center) to utilize such data for project monitoring and evaluation. One of the most notable remaining issues is to access the national government data which still needs to be resolved, and one of the most important improvements planned for the future is to increase the integration domain and scale of the new upcoming services.
Lessons learned and transferability
Smart cities are an untapped market in West Asia and the MENA region. As well as this, the lessons learned from MyTehran could be considered as a valuable benchmark for other cities with similar communication and data infrastructure. According to the operational results, the three fields of real-estate, vehicle management, and payment are the most needed services where the first two are pure municipal services and the last one is the most used in daily life. Letting the citizens customize their app interface is a great feature that imposes a great potential for the widespread of the app among citizens. Additionally, the role of the app in providing services for citizens has increased due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
It should be noted that MyTehran has entered different international competitions to share its experience with the world. Indeed, it was selected as one of the winners of the Tehran Golden Adobe Global Award held in Tehran, 2019.