The future of mobility

Situated at the intersection of technology, game/ environmental/service design, the Future of Mobility provides solution-oriented experiences for the everyday commuter.

Objective

Create a way for bus passengers who do not feel safe while riding LA Metro to feel calm and secure while using the service, while also creating a system that allows for LA Metro to be more efficient.

Approach

We conducted research (interviews and contextual inquiries) with Los Angeles Metro bus riders to find out about their experiences, pain points and needs when they ride LA Metro. Based on the data gathered, we analyzed by doing an affinity diagramming activity and created personas as well as journey maps. This helped us to understand the users better so that we could design a better solution for them. Our ideas were  generated and presented to our peers and professor for feedback and evaluation. Ultimately, with multiple iterations, we came up with a new concept for the LA Metro bus system that introduces a driverless bus, reassigns the role of bus driver to bus assistant, incorporates a mobile application payment system and engulfs the bus cabin with stimuli to relax and keep passengers in a calming state of mind.

My Role

Everyone participated throughout the research process and development of deliverable assets. Each teammate generated ideas, and assisted in recording or note taking taking during interviews and usability testing. I recruited participants to shadow, interview, and for usability testing. This was done be approaching participants in the field and asking for their help with our project. I took charge in the development of the video. I wrote the voice-over script, chose the music, performed the script and edited the video using Premiere Pro. My teammates helped with the video by taking and editing the photos used in the video.

TEAM

Tarelle Butts,  Kaitlin Jet, Petra Nichols

PROJECT DURATION

August 2017 - December 2017


Research

We began by conducting authoethnographic research, to gain firsthand experience of what using LA Metro is like. Then with the focus on safety and efficiency, we conducted several contextual inquiries to witness their behavior to better understand how the users experience LA Metro and learn their needs. This was done by shadowing the users from a distance, and interviewing them about their experience after the ride was over.

The data collected was used to create journey maps to understand and improve the customer experience for its users.

 

Journey Map

 Journey Map

Journey Map

Interviews

 User Interview Quotes

User Interview Quotes

Service Network Map

 Smart Bus Network Map

Smart Bus Network Map


Service Blueprint

 Smart Bus Network: Service Blueprint Focal Points

Smart Bus Network: Service Blueprint Focal Points



Research

Autoethnography Research

I wanted to experience what it would be like to ride a Metro bus. The bus was 19 minutes late. While on the bus, two men in their 50's began to argue. One of the men challenged the other to step off the bus and fight him. 

 Bus Arriving

Bus Arriving

 

Audio of Men Arguing on the bus

 

Ethnography Research

Passengers feel that other passengers are weird, dangerous and smelly. A passenger that we interviewed mentioned that she carries pepper spray, and a bus driver mentioned that he has been spit on. 

 A Quote From An Interviewee

A Quote From An Interviewee

 

Defining the problem

Based on user interviews it was determined that public transportation is not safe and efficient. Participants from the interviews complained that there is a order on the bus when homeless passengers board.

 Insights from Ethnography Research

Insights from Ethnography Research

 

Goal

Converging

 

Relaxing Scents Research

In one of our interview sessions, an interview participant mentioned “People on the bus seem weird, dangerous, and smell.” This quote triggered my teammates and I to research scents. We originally wanted to learn more about neutralizing offensive odors, but we learned, we learned that certain fragrances can be psychologically therapeutic. We decided that this could serve as a way to neutralize offensive odors and keep bus passengers in a calm state of mind. If a passenger is in a calm state of mind, the passenger is most likely to be less dangerous to other passengers.

In aromatherapy, fragrance substances (aroma/ odor/ scent) from various natural sources have been used for the treatment of various disorders. The aromatherapy treatment is a natural way of healing a person’s mind, body, and soul.
— https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198031/

Relaxing Music Research

Music can have a profound effect on both the emotions and the body. Faster music can make you feel more alert and concentrate better. Upbeat music can make you feel more optimistic and positive about life. A slower tempo can quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day. Music is effective for relaxation and stress management.
— https://www.unr.edu/counseling/virtual-relaxation-room/releasing-stress-through-the-power-of-music

Next step

After researching Metro users, my teammates and I created a series of 'what ifs' to begin our brainstorming Into what the metro system could potentially be

What If Mobility Was Futuristic

Smart bus network Prototype

Our Smart Bus Network prototype was developed so that we could demonstrate what and how the the system features would function. The system features we focused on were a payment system, driver less bus, smell and sound, and a trivia game that would offer free fare rewards for correct answers.

 Desktop Walkthrough Sketch

Desktop Walkthrough Sketch

 Smart Bus Network Desktop Walkthrough Prototype Completed 

Smart Bus Network Desktop Walkthrough Prototype Completed 

User Testing

We wanted to explore how participants would react to a driver less bus, a trivia game, relaxing music, and a calming aroma.

     Desktop Walkthrough Testing 

    Desktop Walkthrough Testing 

    Desktop Walkthrough User tests Reflections

    • Functionality is important.
    • Bus patrons care about bus frequency and buses being on time.
    • An easy check in would be nice. 
    • Build trust with self driving buses, people need education on self driving technology.
    • Music and aroma can create a friendly environment.
    • There needs to be more benefits to smart buses than just driverless (Safety and comfortability is important).

    Bus Simulation user testing
     

     

    After completing our Smart Bus Network desktop walkthrough prototype testing, we wanting to move on to testing our ideas in simulation. We asked the participants to envision themselves pre-boarding and on-board a driverless bus. We brought in relaxing and unpleasant odors to smell test, presented a platform that would act as a payment validator system, presented and described the role of the bus attendant, introduced a trivia game, and played relaxing music.

     
     Bus Simulation: Smell Test

    Bus Simulation: Smell Test

     Bus Simulation: Seamless Payment System With Validator Sensor

    Bus Simulation: Seamless Payment System With Validator Sensor

     Bus Simulation: Cabin Experience with Bus Assistant and Passengers

    Bus Simulation: Cabin Experience with Bus Assistant and Passengers

    Low Fidelity Bus Simulation Prototype Insights

    • Participants responded positively to pleasant smell and sound.

    • A participant was concerned about the safety aspect of a driverless bus. Once the bus assistant's role was explained, they were excited.
    • Walking through the simulation without aid was inconclusive because we had to guide participants through the simulation.
    • Participants felt neutral about the trivia game.
    • Participants understood the seamless payment system with the validator sensor.

     

    Smart Bus Network Map

     
     

    Key aspects of the service include a mobile app to quickly pay your fare, passenger data collection, a bus assistant who will answer passenger questions and ensure safety, sound and smell within the bus that is designed to relax and calm passengers, more frequent or infrequent services as needed, improved timetable information at bus stops, road space priority along certain routes and priority at particular traffic lights. 

     


    Metro LA Stakeholder Map

    This is a map of who we have identified as our stakeholders


    What Are The Benefits of This Service

    Metro could use the data to improve their bus service, improve bus routes, and produce accurate bus schedules

     The Benefits of This Service

    The Benefits of This Service