The final step was to get feedback for all the work that we had done over the weeks to understand and fill gaps in the process. We had multiple feedback sessions starting with our guide Mr. Praveen Nahar. We also received important feedback about our GIGA map from Prof M P Ranjan. Design Thinker & Author of blog www.designforindia.com. He helped us understand the need for hierarchy in the GIGA map to enable the viewer to focus on certain sections and read easily. Here is us explaining the GIGA map to Mr. Ranjan.

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We still wanted to share our process and insights with someone from the office of BRTS to understand the perspective from the planners’ side and get the necessary feedback. We were lucky enough to get in touch with Mr. Abhijit Lokre from Centre for Excellence in Urban Transport. He is an Associate professor with the Faculty of Planning at CEPT and leads the design team for Bus Rapid Transit Projects in Ahmedabad, Surat, Indore, Vadodara, Bhubaneswar and Hubli Dharwad.

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After an hour long discussion with him on our project we got valuable feedback which has been documented below. We thank Mr. Abhijit for an engaging and enlightening discussion. (pic above)

  • The approach to tackle anxiety of waiting commuters is appreciable and some more attention is to be given to the practicality. It is difficult to follow the ‘first come first serve’ rule in the mass transit systems as it’s difficult to ascertain the order of ingress.
  • Mass transit system works on the simple principle of high frequency of service which again is achieved by reducing the dwell time (time for which the bus waits at the stop) to a minimum. Anything which will increase the dwell time – say a driver display of passengers going in and out – will slow down the whole system.
  • Some solutions can be generated by simply tweaking the system a little bit. For example, the commuter experience will improve if the scrolling displays are replaced by bigger lcd displays which show timings for multiple buses simultaneously.
  • At the end of the day, it’s a lot about the gross figure – the total number of commuters who used the service that day and how to improve that number.
  • The idea of credit for converting people to commuters is a good idea.
  • It’s important to base the model on dynamic insights instead of predictive ones. Some commuter decisions are taken after becoming a part of the system – not everyone is pre-planned.

“What is good news? There is this news of India winning the Cricket World Cup, but say, this guy hates cricket. So, it’s tricky, you see.”

  • An interactive/dynamic transit line display is essential and could work.
  • A lot of the ideas can be combined under a common platform – say a Janmarg app – it shows live incoming bus info, a user account for free wifi, smartcard account, etc.
  • Ideally, more (wide) doors in the bus, faster the ingress – egress, lesser the dwell time and consequently, more efficient service.
  • Its important to keep in mind that average commuter trips are not long enough to have time to settle down comfortably and interact at length in a group. Similarly, the maximum waiting time in a BRTS stop is around 8 minutes.
  • In the future, everyone should ideally have smart cards, even single journey users, for whom it will work like a token and will be gulped by a machine. However the lack of awareness due to poor promotion.
  • Last mile connectivity is an important factor for seamless transport. For this purpose, the BRTS and AMTS should complement each other instead of competing with each other. Further, bicycle as a mode of connectivity has not realized it’s potential.

We had a huge set of ideas ranging from futuristic vehicles to improved ticket formats. We then sorted all of them and selected the ones we would like to take forward and detail out.

We clearly had 4 different categories of ideas – System, Service, Product and Space. We the decided to make solution cards to explain each idea once it was detailed out. Four different categories like the four suits of cards.

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Free service: The BRTS bus stops can provide a limited time, free wifi internet service. This service
will provide the internet time proportional to the waiting time, so that the commuters waiting for
longer time, get a better deal. The single time code for the access can be printed on the tickets, if
the waiting time is more than a few minutes.

Productive Relationships: Although not a solution, this is an important insight. What if there was a way to announce the occupation of a particular person commuting with you on the bus. Say, via the bus speakers – “We have a doctor in the house!” or “We have a Interior Decorator in the house!”. This might make people build productive relationships by matching similar interests.

PedalPay: An ambitious idea – where each commuter can pedal and gain points which can then
be redeemed for tickets

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Smarter Card: A common card system for all the 3 modes of transport – AMTS, BRTS and Autorickshaws. It can be swiped to make the payment and the money gets deposited to the right account. It can be refilled online and used again and again.

Audio jacks: Audio jacks near all the seats of a bus. This will enable the people to access radio channels just by using their headphones. The added value of this service would be the reminder which will be played as a particular stop approaches or to inform the commuters about the heritage and other facts about the areas from which the bus is passing.

The Grid Game: A simple 3×3 or 4×4 grid game behind all the seats which can be played by the commuters sitting to occupy themselves. The grid can be easily used for advertisement
purposes to gather revenue for the bus services.

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Killing Time: A multiplayer game in which you play with the dial of the watch face, as it counts down the waiting time to your bus and then alerts you at the end of it.

Weekend Woes: A special scheme to attract more commuters to use the public transport on the weekends, when the daily commuters, which form a huge part of the total bus users, dont use the service. Some of the features can be – special discounts for a family ticket, special bus routes to the popular weekend destinations, etc.

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Interactive promotions: A tool which will work in 2 ways. For the commuters who are waiting, these interactive promotions – like the cutout posters, tear-away pamphlets, digital screens – will occupy
their time well. For the Bus services it leads to a additional revenue. The main difference will be to only allow interactive advertisements.

Emergency Services: To allow the emergency services access to the BRTS only routes in case of an emergency, leading to faster response times.

AMTS+BRTS Hub: A bus stop on the footpath which acts as a common ticket counter for both the AMTS buses as well as the BRTS buses. This will help the commuter to make the best decision according to the availability and reach of both the bus services. More convenient for the commuters as they will not have to cross the busy roads for enquiry.

After the analysis part we then started ideating. We had the ‘Thoughts & Solutions’ sheet to start with and then went on to make multiple solution cards. The solutions range from mobile apps to RFID tags to kiosks. We let our ourselves think of as many solutions as we could as we could refine and improve each of them at later stage. Below we have discussed some of the ideas.

Small world: Interactive live feed display of the status of the buses (all BRTS buses have GPS locators) in relation to the stops to inform as well as indulge the user.

Custom made Tickets: Different internet generated content is printed on each ticket, like pictures, crosswords, sudoku, fun facts, news, etc to keep the commuter entertained and occupied till the arrival of the bus or during the journey.

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Self grooming: Self grooming facilities for a large number of office going daily commuters.

Ek Se Bhale Do: A 2 door bus for BRTS facilitating a separate entry and exit leading to convenience as well as faster commuter movement. Thus, there were solutions related directly/ indirectly to waiting and even some solutions which simply help to make the experience of a Bus commute a better experience.

 

 

In the GIGA map, the whole journey of the commuter has been visually depicted. The frames keep zooming in, starting with the places where the commuters leave from. Then slowly the frames zoom into the bus itself and then zooms out again. The insights mapped above and below are similarly at the same scale and timeline as the visuals.

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