RCA Grand Challenge Winner
Sponsored by Logitech

In Collaboration with
Georgia Mackenzie
Kaelan O'Neill 

Reimagining Lima's unregulated public transportation system to provide everyone with safe mobility.

Through a community-inclusive infrastructure and an IoT service, MOWO aims to empower women, especially in cities like Lima, Peru, where the sexual assault on public transportation is common.

Defining Brief
How might we create a system in which bus crowding is regulated without compromising bus drivers’ autonomy?

Women do not have safe mobility means as men do. Considering UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 ‘Gender Equality’ and Goal 11 ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’, it is crucial to provide safe transportation for women not only to move but also have gain resilience and freedom by working and not depending on a male family member.

Peru has been ranked as the most unsafe city for a woman to travel alone day or night. Informal transport leads to crowded, unsafe buses, increasing the assault possibility and restricting women’s use of mobility.

MOWO aims to tackle the informal structure of the bus system and overcrowdedness on buses through four parts design solution.

  1. Establishing Bus Routes and Bus Stops
  2. Bus Stop Design
  3. Open Source Toolkit
  4. MOWO Mobile Application

1. Establishing Bus Routes and Stops. Many buses in Lima run on unregulated routes without designated bus stops. This causes lack of information on arrivals and longer waiting times which may increase the risk of sexual assault in public transportation. Through conversations with local public bus drivers and desk research, we have identified a possible route and bus stops for a neighborhood in Lima.
4. MOWO Mobile Application. A central information hub for all of our passengers, drivers, and ticket vendors, to structure and inform the bus locations, creating an easy way to report any possible assault.

2. Bus Stop Design. Through research, we have decided on four design priorities (Options for communal and individual seating, Open Circulation, High Visibility) in order to create the maximum social impact with minimum physical interferance.

3. Open Source Toolkit. The bus design is cost-effective, retrofittable and customizable. The design is provided to the public as an open source toolkit to construct the bus stops easily in short time. We designed our bus stops to be built by the communities for the communities.

As a multi-disciplinary team, we started the open brief of ‘Design for Safety’ by creating a common ground for us and finding how to define our theme ‘resilience’. Throughout the process, we have iterated and ideated remotely and shared our progress with locals and experts in the field to ensure the feasibility and suitability of the project.

Process Highlights

Research into Problem 
& Context
Being away from the context of Lima, Peru, we found alternative ways to understand the human behaviour around public transportation. For example, checking the bus stop progression in time through Google Maps street views.

Ideation & Iteration
As we design and discuss, we found designers as well as bus drivers in Lima to share our progress. Furthermore, we have reached out to business professors to share our plans of implementation and scaling.

Feature / Press
︎︎︎RCA Grand Challenge

Special thanks to our tutors Madelaine Dowd, Dr Robert Phillips and Idrees Rasouli, who have supported and guided us throughout this rigorous process.