A station of being -
research to help creating an interactive flagship bus stop
Using co-creative research-methods to help Rise Interactive to create an interactive flagship bus stop
Prototypes testing different proposals in the field and conducting user interviews and co-creative workshops with commuters and bus drivers
10-week group project with Pontus Ljungvall, Felicia Hjelmqvist, Jenny Johansson and Jonathan Svan at the Umeå Institute of Design in partnership with Rise Interactive
Research and co-creation
Proposal for a system that increases the quality of the waiting time experience at the bus stop by using and audio-visual storytelling to keep passengers in the loop about the status of the approaching buses.
Ethnographic Research / Participatory Design /
The Swedish city of Umeå got selected for the RUGGEDISED smart city project funded under the European Union with the focus on developing its university quarter into a “smart district”.
For this project, the Umeå Kommun commissioned the realization of a flagship bus stop for this district. Our research and concept were done in collaboration with the Umeå Institute of Design, Rise Interactive and Rombout Frieling Lab and were later transferred to those for the further development of the project.
User-observation at a bust stop in Umeå
Commuters wait outside the bus station because they‘re afraid to miss the bus. Visa versa the bus driver often can‘t tell if a commuter wants to go on the bus or not.
For the bus driver
Constantly searching for eye contact
Slows down the bus unnecessary
Always afraid to drive by someone
For the commuter
Constantly paying attention to the street
Hard to identify the bus from a distance
Difficult to be relaxed while waiting
Usually, the commuters have to continuously watch out for their bus and they often describe this activity as stressful & annoying.
In our solution the bus stop is doing this job for the user: A comforting spectacle of audio and light informs about the status of the buses.
Each audio and colour distinctly represents a particular bus line. This can be also seen from a distance so that commuters walking towards the station can spot the status right away.
Our proposal is a system that uses audio-visual clues to create a comforting waiting-time experience and eases the communication between commuters and bus drivers
waiting for the bus
arrival of the bus
For the bus driver
Reduced mental workload because the
passengers are informed about incoming buses
The driver can‘t drive by passive passengers
For the commuter
More relaxed waiting time
Easier to identify the right bus
Feeling more in control of the situation
Our group's deliverables were prototypes grounded in extensive user-interviews/observations and co-creative workshops. In the end, the final research report was used by Rise Interactive as an inspiration for further design development.
We worked in transdisciplinary groups of 4 - 6 researchers, split between design- and urban-development students. As the main part of our process, we developed low-fidelity prototypes and used the “wizard-of-oz-method” to test our proposals by staging out different interventions in public spaces.
1. The living stop sign
In our first intervention, we tried to help the passenger to get their bus without paying attention to the road or giving the bus driver any signs or looks. To simulate that situation I dressed as a living bus sign that is stepping towards the street every time a bus arrives.
2. The light-sign system
Next, we build a light system that signals the arrival of specific bus lines. We covered the bus shelter so that the users can’t see the actual bus before it arrives. The users were instructed to trust the system and to "relax" while waiting for the bus. They reported that it was easy to do so.
4. Responsiveness by sound and light
In our last intervention, we tested an interactive concept that included the results from the previous interventions. An animation illustrated the arrival of specific buses. So the passengers could prepare him/self to go by bus. We incorporated light to envy to waiting quality.
Encapsulation of all interventions
Prototyping the specifics of the bust stop
Creating the lights-signals and sounds
Testing the interaction flow
3. Being a bus driver for a day
Then we wanted to test if it is easier for the bus driver to pick up the passengers when he knows that the person wants to take the bus for sure. Then we wanted to test if it is easier for the bus driver to pick up the passengers when he knows that the person wants to take the bus for sure.