Year: Fall 2017
Duration: 5 weeks
Project Type: Group - 3 Team Members
Role: User Research, Graphic Design
Tools: Adobe Illustrator​​​​​​​
Brief: "Based on the challenges described, please identify one specific user who faces one of these challenges, and design a solution for the user."
In the class, 'Mechanical Engineering 215A', Product Design students met with Caltrain: California commuter rail line executives. After an in-depth Q&A session, we became aware of the main challenges Caltrain commuters are currently experiencing.
After spending several weeks riding the Caltrain, observing the behavior of daily commuters and speaking with conductors, our team identified challenges faced by daily bike commuters. From this emerging finding, we refined our design direction.
Point of View: How might we create a more pleasant and efficient Caltrain boarding experience for bike commuters?
Caltrain commuters who ride their bike to and from the Caltrain often get "bumped" off of the train or are forced to run down the platform in search of a car with available space. This creates a stressful experience for riders and causes them to spend time and energy on this problem.
Currently, there is no existing technology used to communicate occupancy in a car or train to passengers. Additionally, most Caltrain riders rely on fellow riders to update a Twitter feed that's unaffiliated with Caltrain, which is unreliable and can be a gamble. This issue often leaders to negative feelings around the Caltrain experience. In particular, the relationship between the conductor and commuter is often damaged because the conductor becomes the "bearer of bad news".
Our Solution aims to alleviate the current challenge bikers are facing, while helping daily commuters navigate train car availability. In Caltrain's 10-year expansion plan, future goals include designing a service to best utilize space, increase peak-hour capacity and give users real time updates. Bay Beacons accomplishes these goals and more in a system that falls in line with current construction plans for the Caltrain. Bay Beacons can help all Caltrain riders have a faster and smoother boarding experiencing while helping Caltrain executives provide the best service possible.