Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University


Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Silvia Figueira


In Uganda, the majority of the population lives in rural villages that rely on last-mile distribution for goods such as vaccines, fresh water, trade goods, and other forms of humanitarian relief. Last-mile distribution refers to the last mile (or few miles) that goods must be transported in order to reach their final destination from a main delivery hub. Coordination is one of the primary issues that exist when trying to solve the last-mile problem. In this paper we present our solution to this problem: an SMSbased, on-demand ride-sharing service designed to empower the people of rural Uganda by helping organize the transport of both people and goods. Our application functions similarly to the popular ride-sharing app Uber or Lyft but does not require a smartphone to use. Users text a predefined number to request a ride, get paired with a nearby boda-boda driver (these motorcycle drivers currently offer ride-sharing services to rural Ugandans by word-of-mouth), and are transported to their destination. The service also allows users to specify trailer requirements in case they need to transport goods as well. By building Wakabi around the existing boda-boda system we are not only helping to coordinate last-mile distribution efforts, but are also improving the efficiency of the existing boda-boda drivers that provide transportation to rural Ugandans. Following the 20142015 academic year, Fulbright Scholar and business partner Ty Van Herweg will be responsible for both testing and deploying Wakabi in Uganda. We hope that our application will help boda-boda drivers better serve their riders, and provide businesses with an ideal and cost-effective last-mile distribution solution.