Hazard:Fuel supply disruption
Involved Organisations:VOST Portugal
Virtual Operations Supports Team (VOST) Portugal
- Collecting and Analysing Information from SMCS
- Ensuring Credible Information
- Making Information Accessible
- Mobilising Citizens
Disaster Management Phase
In 2018, Portugal experienced a fuel crisis caused by a strike by truck drivers protesting against the rising fuel prices. The strike resulted in the disruption of fuel supplies and distribution, leading to shortages and long lines at petrol stations across the country. The crisis lasted for several days and had significant impacts on transportation, commerce, and daily life. The government declared a state of emergency and took measures such as importing fuel and imposing restrictions on fuel purchases to mitigate the effects of the crisis. The strike ended after the government and the striking truck drivers reached a negotiation agreement.
VOST Portugal played an important role in providing accurate and up-to-date information to the public on the situation and availability of fuel. VOST Portugal used its online presence to crowdsource information and communicate with the public, keeping them informed and reducing panic and confusion. VOST Portugal also helped to coordinate volunteer efforts and support for those affected by the crisis. By leveraging digital technologies and social media, VOST Portugal played a crucial role in helping the country cope with the effects of the fuel crisis.
"Já Não Dá Para Abastecer" (It's No Longer Possible to Refuel) was a crowdsourcing platform developed by VOST Portugal during the 2018 fuel crisis in the country. The platform aimed to provide real-time information on the availability of fuel at petrol stations throughout Portugal. It relied on volunteer contributions and information from the public to update its database. People could use the platform to check for updates on fuel availability near them, and also to contribute information about the situation at petrol stations in their area. This helped to reduce confusion and panic, as well as to provide a more accurate picture of the situation for those affected by the fuel crisis. The platform was widely used by the public during the crisis and demonstrated the potential of crowdsourcing and digital technologies in crisis situations.
What was the overall goal of the Use Case?The overall goal of the "Já Não Dá Para Abastecer" platform was to provide real-time and accurate information on the availability of fuel at petrol stations throughout Portugal during the 2018 fuel crisis. The platform aimed to help the public make informed decisions about refuelling, reduce confusion and panic, and support efforts to manage the crisis. By crowd sourcing information from the public and updating a database in real-time, "Já Não Dá Para Abastecer" aimed to provide a more comprehensive and up-to-date view of the fuel situation, allowing people to find the nearest available petrol station and avoid long lines and shortages.
What worked well and could be recommended to others?
The crowdsourcing platform was used not only by citizens but also by official entities, namely ANEPC (the Portuguese National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection) that used the crowdsourcing information to identify supply bottlenecks. The use of crowdsourcing works as long as:
- You are clear that crowdsourced information has an inherent error factor
- You are clear that the information being relayed is crowdsourced and, in a dynamic environment such as crisis of this type is, what is true now can be false minutes later
- You have the ability to maintain a technological infrastructure that will attract millions of users- You have a development team that can react fast to changes and/or mitigate threats in real time.
What limitations were identified?The lack of data from fuel suppliers (with an exception for PRIO), the lack of data from official entities (at government and regulator level) were the main limitations identified to provide a even more reliable information to the populations.
- https://www.publico.pt/2019/08/11/tecnologia/noticia/equipa-vost-portugal-1883089 [In Portuguese]
- https://cidadania20.com/projectos/janaodaparaabastecer/ [In Portuguese]
- https://observador.pt/2019/08/08/greve-dos-motoristas-veja-aqui-onde-ainda-pode-abastecer-o-carro/ [In Portuguese]