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Vroom a safer way to ride bodabodas in Nairobi


My Role

Sep 2020 - Mar 2021
Capstone Project, UC San Diego


Frequent breakdown of
interaction between riders
and other road users

Unlike with other road users globally where registration, licensing, training and safety is generally standardized; many Nairobi residents believe motorcyclists (boda boda operators) have been left to their own means.


According to boda boda riders; arrogant drivers, poor visibility during low light day segments and bad weather are the major causes of road accidents in Nairobi.

Why is there a frequent breakdown of interaction between boda boda riders, the traffic department, motorists and other road users?

Vroom Storyboard


A convenient and accountable hailing service

Convenience and Safety
  • Discover nearby riders/ customers with ease.

  • Access rider ratings and reviews before your ride

  • Confirm genuine riders with Face ID verification before starting your trip

  • Agree on cost of trip before confirming your ride

  • Affordable one off payment for 24 hour access to customers and in App services for riders

Discover Nearby Riders
Vroom Accountability


私は一段落です。ここをクリックして独自のテキストを追加し、編集してください。それは簡単です。 「テキストの編集」をクリックするか、「私」をダブルクリックして独自のコンテンツを追加し、フォントを変更するだけです。私は、あなたがストーリーを語り、ユーザーにあなたについてもう少し知ってもらうのに最適な場所です。


私は一段落です。ここをクリックして独自のテキストを追加し、編集してください。それは簡単です。 「テキストの編集」をクリックするか、「私」をダブルクリックして独自のコンテンツを追加し、フォントを変更するだけです。私は、あなたがストーリーを語り、ユーザーにあなたについてもう少し知ってもらうのに最適な場所です。

Vroom Collaborated Services


In 2020, 18,000 of new patients who were admitted to surgical wards was as a result of polytrauma from boda boda accidents.

“..boda boda sector employs over 5.2 M youths.

Only 1.4 M are duly trained and registered.

Over 70% of boda boda riders are untrained and unregistered.

On average a boda boda rider earns KES. 700 daily..”

An easier way of regularly training and evaluating riders will improve rider attitude towards safety on the roads…..


The competition is not commercially viable according to majority of boda boda operators and service providers

Despite efforts by competition to resolve registration, safety, security and visibility challenges; they are not commercially viable and therefore avoided by cost cautious boda boda operators and restaurant operators. Their charges range between 30%- 40% commission on every trip and hold the riders funds for up to 7 days before settling card collections.

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Inadequate training, irresponsible attitude and overspeeding came up as major causes of boda boda accidents in Nairobi

Although I figured from research that standard training was important, I conducted interviews with 38 respondents; 9 boda boda operators, 6 motorists, 9 regular pillion passengers, 4 traffic police officers, 4 restaurant managers and 6 medics.

Research Questions

  1. Have you ever experienced a minor or a major road incidence in Nairobi? Describe your experience

  2. Do you wear safety gear while on a boda boda ride? Why/ Why not?
  3. Do you remember to wear a reflective jacket at night?
  4. Are you registered on Uber for riders? Describe your experience
  5. Are you registered on Glovo/ Bolt for restaurants? Describe your experience
  6. Who taught you how to ride? Describe your experience
  7. Approximately how many bodaboda cases were reported to your station last week? Describe the incidences as reported


None of the previous apps my interviewees used solved their financial challenge due to demand for a high revenue commission.

Boda boda operators operate on low margins and high risk business environment. The standard fare charge is KES. 50.


With the rising cost of living, it has become more impractical for boda boda riders to split their earnings with hailing platforms such as Uber and Little cab.

Restaurants are also finding it difficult to part with 40% of the bill and are therefore forced to transfer the cost to their customers. The delivery system in Nairobi is generally user unfriendly due to high costs. 


Major Insights
Regular Training and Evaluation
When a rider is conversant with the highway code of conduct , he/ she can communicate efficiently with other road users.
Boda boda riders need an easily accessible learning centre where they can refresh their road use knowledge
The current training level of boda boda riders does not inspire confidence amongst the various stakeholders/ road users
Personal Attitude Towards Safety
Ladies, who make up majority of the city pillion passengers do not wear helmets because of different hair styles and hygiene concerns
Impactful enlightenment on rights and roles of every road user is needed to eradicate ignorance and improve attitude towards personal safety amongst boda boda riders.
Generally, road users feel that they need an easier and faster way of retrieving information on rogue boda boda riders who take off after causing an incident or accident.
Non verbal cues and indicators are the main facets of communication while on the road and should therefore be enhanced.
The pillion passenger should take more responsibility in enhancing their own safety through improving their visibility in this chaos.
Due to poor lighting on most roads in the city and beyond, poor quality of headlights and indicators, poor designs of motor cycles that do not meet safety standards; boda boda riders have enhanced their own presence while on the road.
Controls and Regulations
Highway authorities need a standardised and thorough review process before licensing boda boda riders to go on the highways.
Consequence based accountability and the need to keep a good rating for improved business will be a self controlling regulator to assist riders to keep their discipline.
Shadowy licensing of untrained riders mostly leads to avoidable accidents.
Vroom Persona
Vroom Journey Map


Setbacks + a new direction for enhancing visibility

At first, I had thought about helmets, shoulder and knee pads with bright LED indicators synchronised with the motorcycle indicator system. After testing the idea, many users did not like the idea of sharing helmets,shoulder and knee pads and also did not want to carry around any extra baggage even to enhance personal safety. The ladies also did not want to mess around their hairdo!

A powered reflective jacket however allows for user control and freedom and also matches Vroom's solution to real world solution. I settled on powered reflective jackets for my design of Vroom Kits.


3 major improvements in my design

Based on various feedback from 3 other peers + mentor feedback, I continually iterated my design over the span of 6 weeks- with 3 major improvements:

Vroom Chat Broadcast Feed


私は一段落です。ここをクリックして独自のテキストを追加し、編集してください。それは簡単です。 「テキストの編集」をクリックするか、「私」をダブルクリックして独自のコンテンツを追加し、フォントを変更するだけです。私は、あなたがストーリーを語り、ユーザーにあなたについてもう少し知ってもらうのに最適な場所です。


私は一段落です。ここをクリックして独自のテキストを追加し、編集してください。それは簡単です。 「テキストの編集」をクリックするか、「私」をダブルクリックして独自のコンテンツを追加し、フォントを変更するだけです。私は、あなたがストーリーを語り、ユーザーにあなたについてもう少し知ってもらうのに最適な場所です。

Vroom Daily Subscription
Vroom How much?


私は一段落です。ここをクリックして独自のテキストを追加し、編集してください。それは簡単です。 「テキストの編集」をクリックするか、「私」をダブルクリックして独自のコンテンツを追加し、フォントを変更するだけです。私は、あなたがストーリーを語り、ユーザーにあなたについてもう少し知ってもらうのに最適な場所です。


The final product

Vroom Final Product

The Style Guide

Vroom Style Guide


What I would do different next time ?

I learned that the more developed the prototype gets, the harder it gets to filter out unnecessary steps while solving the user need. It is therefore critical to collect most of the feedback at the initial design stages. This requires detailed low fidelity prototypes to aid in preliminary user testing. 


If I had more time, I would develop working prototypes of the wearable jacket "vroom kit" just to test it with the target users and unearth more insights on wearables.

From my respondents, more in App services would go a long way:

  • school pick up and drop off services

  • food deliveries

  • medical supplies deliveries


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