Bikesense grew out of an ubiquitous computing assignment from CMU's Interaction Design Studio course. Our prompt called for an intelligent system that improves public safety that would meet the needs of target users at a specific location. We arrived at our final concept through contextual research, iterative research and prototyping.
Our final deliverable was a video which showed the challenges inherent with current static signs in the city and how dynamic signs could not only help drivers and cyclists but also the city as a whole. In this team project, I performed research throughout and helped facilitate the group design process of the final sign.
To improve cyclist safety we took conducted site observations, interviews and secondary research. From observations, we noticed that bike rental stations didn't provide helmets. Poor weather conditions such as rain and steep inclines found in Pittsburgh posed problems. Cyclists told us that they felt guilty for riding on the sidewalk but saw no good alternative due to heavy traffic and poor road conditions.
We storyboarded and speeddated multiple concepts with drivers and cyclists around safety. However, the reactions to them were lukewarm. Cyclists thought drivers were careless. Drivers said cyclists ignored the rules of the road. In the end, both had strong reactions, saying that the other party should take action, not them.
To address these issues we shifted our approach towards building a smart sign that would notify drivers of nearby cyclists. Additionally, the city of Pittsburgh could benefit from this concept by capturing the data collected from the smart sign to further improve its bike infrastructure.
In our final version of the sign we incorporated two interactive elements. As soon as a bike would pass, a red triangle would emerge at the top of the sign indicating that a cyclist is nearby. Over time, this indicator would get lowered until it disappeared. Secondly, the amount of info on the sign itself would change from a verbose mode about the law to a general statement about sharing the road.
For our final deliverable, we created a concept video showing the benefits of a smart sign to cyclists, drivers and the city of Pittsburgh.