Bigu is a free car sharing app for university students. It is  a sustainable alternative to a complex Brazilian social problem: urban transport efficiency.


The main objective of Bigu is to present a sustainable alternative to a complex Brazilian social problem, urban transport efficiency. Bigu aims to promote the responsible use of cars among college students through a simple formula: fewer cars on the road equates to faster travel and less pollution. The mobile platform is a car sharing social network, combining sociability between users and saving transportation expenses, time and natural resources.

Team: Diogo Cunha, Mariana Pedrosa, Vanessa Medeiros and Victor Poggi from Estúdio Visio

Date: Mar 2013 – [work in progress]


Everything started with Vanessa and myself personal frustration, the traffic jam in our city.  As both of us coming in to the city from the same direction we were spending hours in the morning trying to get to university.

Our city, Recife, the capital of Pernambuco, is located in the northeast of Brazil. It’s also the city with highest rate of traffic among all Brazilian cities, resulting in 60% of its streets moving at only a slow pace. This is due to the fact that the city doesn’t offer a good public transport system, and consequently most citizens rely on cars to move around.

This congestion is not only a waste of time for many, but it is producing an alarming environmental impact. Car pollution is a major issue for Brazil, and is a constant threat to people’s quality of life.

It is also worth mentioning that more than half of the five seat cars only carry on average 1.5 people per trip, when then could be shared. With a rise in the sharing economy, as expected to occur in younger generations, the ‘golden era’ of car ownership among post-war baby boomers may never be repeated.

Therefore, how could we create a system for car sharing that has an environmental, social, and economic impact?

Recife has the highest rate of traffic among all Brazilian cities


After some initial desk research and a co-creation session, we finally identified that at our university was in a difficult area to get, and has large groups of people coming from the same direction, with cars occupied by only one or two people. Within our small group of friends, we started sharing lifts to university and this resulted in fully occupied cars, everyone arriving on time and it was a lot less stressful for those who had previously relied on public transport. In addition, the time spent in traffic was less boring as we could interact with each other.

Therefore, we tried to map out this journey and to translate it to our project; the focus was now on creating a car sharing system for students attending the university. We then developed the early stages of the digital touchpoint via the web and an app, to analyse and understand user interactions and the information flow. We also mapped out the stakeholders involved and what the value created for each of them would be.


Bigu (a Brazilian synonym for ride) is a free car sharing app for university students. It has a social network interface, thereby allowing students to interact and seek the best options in order to search and offer rides through the evaluation of its users and without any financial involvement. Through a user profile, individuals can enter their preferences, their destinations, create groups, talk to each other, and make new friends.

In a simple way this app seeks to help the urban transport problem by increasing the efficiency of automobile capacity in order to decrease the amount traffic on the road and hence reduce the time spent commuting and the pollution caused by traffic. In exchange for considering the effect on the environment, Bigu users are rewarded by earning points every time they check-in and these can be used as discounts in bookstores, cafes, cinemas and other establishments.

This project is still developing. We are now trying to create our first beta version for testing at a local university. More exciting things are to come!

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