"You are asking me to pay for my legs'': Exploring the Experiences, Perceptions, and Aspirations of Informal Public Transportation Users in Kampala and Kigali


Lynn Kirabo (Carnegie Mellon University)
Elizabeth J Carter (Carnegie Mellon University)
Aaron Steinfeld (Carnegie Mellon University)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3378393.3402269

Session: 4.1. Understanding user populations

Abstract: Smart technologies around the world have recently come under scrutiny for automating inequality. Given the recent push towards developing and implementing smart cities policies that affect transportation systems in places like Kampala and Kigali, it is important to examine how the different modes of transportation meet the needs of diverse passengers and identify opportunities for technology to address any inequities. Prior studies have focused on the impact of informal public transportation on government policy and examined drivers’ perspectives, but they largely overlooked the experiences of passengers and other industry stakeholders. In this study, we conducted interviews and surveys with public transportation riders with different physical abilities as well as other stakeholders, including transport and financial technology creators. Our findings illuminate inequities in the transportation system surrounding of discrimination and harassment, influence of ability on preferred transportation modes despite inaccessible interfaces, influence of perceived social hierarchical structures on innovation. We present insights on how passengers appropriate technology to overcome challenges, and we uncover opportunities for technology to fill additional gaps. Lastly, we discuss how these findings support emergent frameworks such as aspiration-based design, and we present potential envisioned futures of technology for informal public transportation.