Starting Out

Public transportation is often negatively perceived, especially the RIPTA bus system in Providence: it’s dirty and uncomfortable; it’s never on time; there’s too many people. On the other hand, it’s cheaper, more convenient, and more eco-friendly, so the question is: how can the experience be improved?

We began by breaking down the incentives for why people take the bus, their expectations for how it should be like, and reasons for their dislike of it.

We soon realized that the root of the frustration was the perceived loss or waste of time. Most of our initial rapid concept sketches thus revolved around ways to boost efficiency, encourage social engagement, and aid productivity, so as to make time pass faster.

Rerouting Our Approach

However, none of those original ideas truly solved the problem. Most people who take public transit are commuters, who care only about getting from one place to another on time. We returned to the drawing board, this time to classify different types of travelers and their priorities.

Tourists try to make the most of their time while abroad, but the desire to maximize one’s time is universal. The problem, then, was not relegated simply to public transportation, but travel as a whole.

Personas

Product Comparisons

To maximize time spent, one needs control over their schedule and the ability to plan things out in advance. Many sites like TripAdvisor, Kayak, or Hipmunk already exist to alleviate stress from that process. However, they still have limitations.

  • They rely on prior research and strict planning, and don’t allow for unforeseen circumstances.
  • Recommendations from these sites come from strangers who may not share the same interests as the user.

Interviews

To gain further insight into the needs of different user types, we spoke with several experts about what problems faced people with certain disabilities, as well as the prevalence of said disabilities.

We distilled the interviews into a set of key insights, and from there developed a set of objectives for our final product.