Ripple Transportation Process


The telematics in transportation problem space

Currently, our everyday travels are often restricted by unpredictable traffic and unreliable transit systems. As cities grow and streets become more crowded, how can we better orient the complex movement of people on the road?


Initial Research

Discovering problems within the transportation space

We started with initial surveys and interviews to help us understand the general problems within transportation. We asked about people's primary modes of transportation and both positive and negative experiences they've had while in transit.

What we heard:

“I have a common route that gets me home the fastest but if there's traffic, I take another route.”
“Sometimes you wanna go the fast way sometimes you wanna go the scenic route it depends.”
“Just stay later at where I am if going home, or leave early if it's the morning”

Key Insights

  • People dislike waiting and being late (time is key)
  • People plan their travels around efficiency (dependent on luxury of flexibility)
  • Overall, people don't like the lack of control over their duration of wait

From our insights, we mapped out the causes and effects of traffic during rush hour. We also identified the types of data and methods that this information can be communicated to travelers.


Research Phase 2

Shifting focus and narrowing the scope

After our initial research and analysis, we realized the problem of traffic is heavily reliant on infrastructural changes that are out of our scope. We also felt we were tackling the problem on a more impersonal level. 

We decided to narrow our scope to one specific mode of transportation. We decided to focus on buses because while they are the most popular mode of transportation (and projected to stay this way), people we talked to also had the most problems with bus experiences. Specifically, we focused on the waiting experience, since this was the aspect of taking the bus that people felt they had the least control over.

Understanding user needs and desires

We conducted another round of in depth research through interactive make-tools, interviews, observations, and surveys to better understand rider's problems, needs, and desires.

Co-Creating Bus Stop Activity

We asked people to draw an average bus stop (top) and their dream bus stop (bottom). Through this activity, we were able to identify what people wanted in their bus stop experience.

Concrete: weather proofing, more comfort, knowledge of bus arrival, more space

Abstract: entertainment, productivity, socializing


We mapped out the responses we got from interviews and surveys that defined positive and negative feelings people felt while waiting for the bus stop.


Key Takeaway

Through our analysis, we realized people experienced the strongest negative feelings and dissatisfaction with the inconsistent and inaccurate information and poor communication with their source of transportation.



Improving communication between people and roads.

Initial Idea Development

To address the problem of poor communication between riders and their mode of transit, we started to imagine the future states of transportation. We pointed to the growing population (more people on the roads) and developments in data gathering technology (better information to share) as key points to focus on.


The Mobility Hub

Derived from our focus on bus stops, we came to the idea of a mobility hub, a multi-modal stop, which would serve as a central touch point for various types of riders. Sensors at the hubs would collect information and distribute it accordingly to those on the roads. 

The three modes of transportation we decided to focus on were buses, bikes and autonomous vehicles that would be shared amongst the public. 

Concept and User Testing

We tested our idea with students and community members in Pittsburgh. From our results, we analyzed the key factors offered by each mode of transportation and the information that would be most relevant to each type of rider.

Reframing travel as an activity.

For the mobile touchpoint, I wanted to focus on changing the way people perceive travel by making it about the journey, rather than simply the destination. By orienting travel around goals (such as personal health, the environment, and social experiences), we can reframe travel as an activity in itself.


App Exploration

Riders enter their destination.

Riders enter their destination.

Riders find their most suitable hub or Ripple Point.

Riders find their most suitable hub or Ripple Point.

Riders find relevant information about modes of transportation based on current traffic and personal travel goals.

Riders find relevant information about modes of transportation based on current traffic and personal travel goals.