Facilitating transportation for multimodal commuters by providing them with a travel system that will allow them to transport themselves in a personalized, safe, and time effective manner
MHCI+D Capstone Project Advised by Amazon
Lead UX Designer
Lead Design Researcher
Sketching and Wireframing
Dec 2018 — Present
Transportation and the successful growth of a future smart city like Seattle go hand in hand. Without constantly evolving, efficient, and convenient mobility options that growth becomes stunted. As a result, for our capstone project, advised by Amazon, we decided to focus on multimodal transportation in the Seattle area. To initiate our project, we conducted formative research to gain a deep understanding of commuters' values and pain points in the Seattle area.
In our research, we learned that commuters across the United States have a strong desire to move smart, quickly, and cost effectively and currently do all they can to ensure they move that way, such as by planning their trips in advance and making the best out of their available transportation options.
There is also an exciting and burgeoning trend of using multimodal transportation to get around. This includes, but is not limited to, driving, biking, walking, and using public transportation to move. While multimodal transportation has transformed mobility patterns like never before, there still exists major pain points that need to be addressed so that this form of transportation can better address a commuter’s personal needs and preferences and be a smoother, less frustrating process. We aim to highlight where these design opportunities lie in Seattle, a city known for its cutting edge technology, culture of innovation, and pioneering business spirit that make it a leader in shaping new transportation infrastructure and behaviors.
How might we facilitate transportation for multimodal commuters and provide them with a travel system that will allow them to transport themselves in a personalized, safe, and time effective manner?
After a thorough analyzation of our research questions and goals, I designed and structured the following research methods:
- Secondary Research
- Competitive Analysis
- Expert Interviews
- Fly on the Wall
- Semi-Structured Interviews
- Participatory Design Workshop
- Diary Study
Secondary research has been an ongoing part of our project. Having studied more than 60 sources of information throughout the project, we formed a solid literature review around the subject of multimodal transportation.
I designed and used a screener to recruit these participants and received 85 responses.
The study is comprised of 12 participants, that are a sample of commuters with multimodal behaviors who tend to use different modes of transportation based on the trip they take everyday.
The following describes the common and specific characteristics of this group:
- Currently lives in Seattle area and has lived in Seattle area for 6 months or more
- Utilizes more than one transportation method
- Has mobility demands on a regular bases
- Uses some type of technology for transportation purposes
- Includes mixture of various education and household income levels
- Includes mixture of car owners and non-car owners
- Includes different genders
- Is racially diverse
We recruited participants with whom we could perform in-person studies.
My goal for our competitive analysis was to gain a better and more comprehensive understanding of the available public and private modes of transportation. I ensured to cover a wide spectrum of transportation modes and methods in order to look at mobility as a whole and analyze what pros and cons each category has to offer. Hence, our competitive analysis includes, but is not limited to, bikeshare, public transportation, rideshare, ferries, and more.
Our goal in recruiting transportation experts was to gain a deeper understanding of the external factors that contribute to the formation of transit patterns in individuals and society at large. These factors include transportation policies, short-term/long-term traffic plans, public transit services, current transit pain points, and potential opportunities and threats caused by the transportation system in the Seattle area.
Our goal in recruiting transportation experts was
to gain a deeper understanding of the external factors that contribute to the formation of transit patterns in individuals and society at large. These factors include transportation policies, short-term/long-term traffic plans, public transit services, current transit pain points, and potential opportunities and threats caused by the transportation system in the Seattle area.
To bridge the current world of transit to the speculative future of transportation in the Seattle area, I recruited traffic experts from Seattle Department of Transportation, as well as the University of Washington. SDOT experts helped us better understand the existing gaps in transit services while informing us about the pros and cons of each transportation method. Moreover, UW experts enabled us to have a solid understanding of the rationale behind individuals’ mobility decisions, as well as the possible future of transit services.
Combining this information with our findings from the secondary research and insights from other research methods contributed to the formation of informative insights.
Semi-structured interviews allowed us to gain a more holistic understanding of multimodal transportation, the people that use it, how they use it, and what their needs and behaviors are.
FLY ON THE WALL
We conducted 1 collective session of a 150 minute observation of commuters during morning rush hour in U-District between the hours of 8:00 am - 10:30 am in the middle of the workweek. Special attention was paid in observing if commuters used different modes of transportation, such as bikes, skateboards, or rideshare, to get to and from different link and bus stations in the Seattle area.
After the main observation of the University of Washington Station and two nearby bus stations that was completed collectively, I returned to the link station to travel to and make observations of Capitol Hill Station, University Street Station, and surrounding bus stops.
My goal was to understand a multimodal commuter’s experience and behavior in different transportation systems and to learn if there are any common pain points or unique behaviors that people exhibit. I observed and walked around while taking notes, and pictures.
I designed the diary study to provide a simple medium for participants to share their everyday transportation experiences with the research team. Understanding their everyday experiences inspired our team and enabled us to gain a better and more realistic understanding of the participants’ needs and behaviors.
While the participatory design workshop and the semi-structured interviews allowed participants to discuss their thoughts around the transportation system using a storytelling method, the diary study enabled us to explore the real-life experience of participants by studying their everyday interactions with Seattle area and its transportation systems.
I designed the structure and activities of the participatory design workshop to understand people’s pain points, attitudes, and expectations towards transportation.
Participatory design allowed participants to explore their transit values and preferences through conceptualization, group discussions, and hands-on design activities. Furthermore, as we transition to the ideation phase, the outcome of the participatory design workshop and the ideas users proposed served as actionable inspiration for the solutions.