According to a World Bank Report Benin ranked among the world’s 5 highest in road fatality. When we first traveled to Benin, sadly this was still the case.
Call for Change
According to a World Bank Report, Benin ranked among the world’s 5 highest in road fatality. When we first traveled to Benin, sadly this was still the case. Our partners from Materialise were engaged in providing more and better hospital care for all the road injuries. However, the number of accidents were on a steep growth curve and it was difficult for hospitals to keep up with the increasing number of broken legs and injured bodies. So, we decided to address the root cause of the traffic hazards. What if we could design traffic to be safer?
We applied a human-centric approach to understand the needs and desires of all the stakeholders involved. This implied that we honored all people who impact and are impacted by the transport system. In the given scenario of the taxi-brousse system, a ride only took place when the vehicle was full and the driver could determine the route. So the reliability of the transport system that is so crucial for social progress was extremely low. Only when people can move around, can they earn a livelihood. By accompanying them throughout their day, understanding their aspirations and their fears, we understood that human trust was a way bigger issue than mobility in itself.
We helped create the Baobab Express. This venture was created by a larger ecosystem of stakeholders and partners. Baobab Express has put the safety of its customers, drivers, and staff first. In 2013 there were twelve local staff and six buses on the road. By January 2014, six additional buses were added to the fleet, broadening the reach of the routes. In less than a year Baobab Express found more than 25 committed investors. Each investor package represented a bus, making the financial contribution highly tangible and the human contribution very concrete. Today the fleet comprises 40 buses and Baobab Express is the first West African B Corp, on track to make safe mobility a source of social progress