15 Jun 2017
Alger, Algeria
Sustainable Mobility

Living in a congestion-free city has always been one of Amel’s dreams. Amel Ould Amer, an operations research engineer, is on a quest to find ways to reduce traffic congestion. She launched OptimaDecision, a consulting firm, to urge decision-makers to evaluate and assess the way people move inside the city.

Today’s communities are looking for opportunities to enjoy safe, comfortable, and convenient streets for all walks of life – from the young to the elderly. OptimaDecision is a planning and consulting firm specialized in transport planning.

“I created OptimaDecision in April 2015, after being awarded at the PACEIM Support Program for creating one of the best innovative companies around the Mediterranean region in 2012,” Said Amel Ould Amer, Founder of OptimaDecision.

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OptimaDecision is responsible for planning, managing and implementing the city’s transportation with a main focus on bicycle planning, and pedestrian planning. “We encourage our customers to take public transportation and bikes for a greener future.”

According to Ould Amer, the main goal is to help implement transportation goals and policies that are consistent with the city’s growth principles, which will enhance ridership and reduce vehicle trips.

How it all started:

“When I decided to set up my company in Algeria, I felt the need for financial, strategic and technical support,” said Ould Amer. She familiarized herself with the mechanisms of France, where she studied, and Algeria, her country of origin, to optimize the chances of her success.

Such approach allowed her to benefit from additional support from the PACEIM, which is also a help program powered by France to help North African alumnus establish their projects in their home countries and the Algerian support system for business start-ups. She then conducted a study of the Algerian market and identification of development opportunities. “The program supported me in all the stages of my company and in particular financed my training at the “Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris” in the field of road traffic management.”

There, she established solid connections with French companies, enabling her to benefit from exclusive software and technical assistance adapted to fit the challenges of the transport sector in Algeria.

The real problem:

Traffic congestion exists in every major metropolitan area in the world, and Algeria is no exception. Traffic congestion can also be considered an indirect contributor to global warming. Repeated ignition burns fuel at a higher rate than driving on open highways.

Cities within the developing world experience a form of urban development which is different to those in more industrialized countries. Rates of growth are usually much more dramatic, housing and transport are often provided informally, and institutional support for urban management is also much weaker.

“Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transport have increased dramatically over the past 20 years and the projections for the coming years are alarming,” says Rachid Alhiane, the Economic Intelligence Director at Marseille Innovation, a European business and innovation center. “Optima decision is positioning itself on this major problem to bring its know-how of planning transportation and the displacements.”

Faced with new economic, environmental and social constraints, decision makers need a professional assessment. “We study a wide range of alternatives and impacts on the transportation system to influence beneficial outcomes,” Ould Amer said. “Finding a solution to traffic congestion could mean a vast improvement in the quality of life in Algeria.”

Alhiane commended OptimaDecision for raising public awareness of the dangers of climate change and global warming, as well as thoughtful territorial planning that integrates local and regional environmental issues.

Keeping the community moving:

OptimaDecision collaborates with government and private agencies to help define future policies, goals, and designs to move people to destinations “At least, I can help frame a positive, solution-oriented and multi-disciplinary approach to thinking about the built environment and the mobility plan we make for people,” Ould Amer added.

The concept applies a multi-approach to analyzing the wide range of alternatives for the transportation system. Ould Amer is planning to use behavioral psychology to persuade drivers to abandon their automobiles and use public transport instead. She is also about to launch a new campaign promoting sustainability and environmental enhancements.

“It’s not really about the roads nor the routes, for me, it’s the study of the human behavior, and the behavioral psychology behind citizen’s mobility is what enticed me to launch this project,”  Ould Amer said.

“When it comes to infrastructures, structures supporting social entrepreneurship are insufficient in many countries and there are very few structures that are organized with creative professionals who are familiar with this type of companies,” Alhiane said. “Most people have difficulty understanding social enterprises because of their hybrid structure between the social and the commercial.”

OptimaDecision has so far collaborated with a variety of clientele in the design of four cosmopolitan additions around Algeria, like SETS (Société d’études Techniques de Sétif), ICA Algeria (Ingénieurs Conseils Associés) that is active in several projects around Africa, and Concept consulting firm.

Whether it is OptimaDecision’s conquest to formulate new solutions or use the human psyche to optimize transportation, the nascent initiative is not but a safe staker on Algeria’s roads.


Website: http://www.optimadecision.com/en

Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/optimadecision/

Photos: Courtesy of OptimaDecision

Oumeima is a writer and a translator by day, a blogger by night. Right now she is helping green and social entrepreneurs find their voices and tell their stories.Oumeima Boughanmi
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