Designing Transportation Systems


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A presentation to the Interaction Design Association of San Francisco following their "Design in Space" themed event. Discussing how urban planners design towards our respective audiences while balancing the goals of cities.

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  • Talk about “user experience” principals. How everyone has some level of experience as they are users. I am an amateur UX person – but I do occasionally browse the interwebs. Similar to transportation – everyone is a user and an expert to some degree.
  • First – spend a few moments to frame the box of a transportation planner – which falls roughly under city planning. So let’s take an example using this little corner of San Francisco (where we are now)
  • Within this small piece of the city – there are numerous factors that need to be considered like the following – and this is only touching on a number of the different variables. Image credits:Housing – san Francisco housing authorityUrban design – BMS design group
  • I focus on transportation – which is one piece of this overall puzzle. Image credits:Housing – san Francisco housing authorityUrban design – BMS design group
  • Transportation is a pretty simple concept - and something we all experience on a daily basis whether we want to or not. Unless you travel from point A to point B – using the public network that surrounds you.
  • Transportation “planning” adds the element – that we’re all in this together and have competing needs, priorities and means to get from one place to another.
  • Just using a very limited example from Los Angeles – this reflects the surveyed origins and destinations of where people want to go in a small area.
  • The framework for which we work withinInfrastructure: streets/roads/highways. Sidewalks, bike paths, ferry terminals, rails (streetcar and heavy rail) and the stationsModes of transportation that use that infrastructure: walk, bike, drive, transit (fixed guideway, bus, waterborne)Photo credit: Eric Fischer
  • Photo credit: Eric Fischer
  • Why is that important? Because we talk about being having the opportunity to create experiences and responsibility to best utilizing the public space – streets and these “rivers of movement” take up a quarter of the land.Source: San Francisco Planning Department
  • 33,000 deaths from traffic accidents in the united states in 2010. (NHTSA)In San Francisco - (SFMTA)Non-fatal injury collisions totaled 3,111 in 2011. Injury collision totals are relatively unchanged since 2004.• Fatal collisions totaled 28 in 2011. Of these fatalities, 17 were pedestrians and 3 were riding a bicycle.
  • As we grow – transportation network stay roughly the same. We can’t tower over the city / can’t bury all of our problems either. What can we do to squeeze more out of the system.Source: SFCTA Champ Travel Demand Model
  • San Francisco is 49 Square Miles – 25% that 12.25 square miles of streets – not a lot. What’s the best way to use that space?
  • Users on the system – how do we make it easy to navigate, understand, and intuitive.“A sign equals a failure of design”Parking in San Francisco – a 3-part logic problem.
  • All those things considered – how do we make using the transportation network an enjoyable experience.
  • A key challenge in transportation is that we can’t make presumptions about our users. They’re not looking for “X” or we can’t assume they have certain skills. Might be blind, might be hard of hearing, etc. Similar to web – our work is driven by a strong technical background – striving to find the optimal solution. However, this may not be the “ideal” solution for the end user.
  • Transportation. Everyone is an expert. Everyone knows their commute.
  • Transportation. Everyone is an expert. Everyone knows their commute.
  • Steve Boland –
  • As transportation professionals – we make conscious decisions about our built environment. Vastly different experience depending on your point of view – it’s our responsibility to balance the needs of those users depending on what makes best sense given those goals. Roughly the length of a basketball court. Photo Credit: Dan Burden.
  • Return to experience- how to create.
  • Designing Transportation Systems

    1. 1. Transportation in SpacePaul Supawanich | NelsonNygaard
    2. 2. city planning
    3. 3. city planningland use economic developmenthousing urban design transportation
    4. 4. city planningland use economic developmenthousing urban design transportation
    5. 5. Transportation A B
    6. 6. Transportation Planning E C A B B A X D
    7. 7. Transit Rider Origins andDestinations2011 - Culver City, CA
    8. 8. Transportation Planning:an ongoing negotiation of differentusers trying to be in the samespace at the same time.(but going in different directions)
    9. 9. transportation’s frameworkour canvas:the public space between the private space.
    10. 10. Which includes the public right-of-way above transportation’s frameworkand below ground
    11. 11. San Francisco, CA
    12. 12. Transportation Goals*5 Es(pronounced “eeeeeeeeeee”)* As defined by me.
    13. 13. Expectancy, Life (e.g. safety)
    14. 14. Efficiency of Network
    15. 15. Efficiency of Resources
    16. 16. Ease of Use
    17. 17. Experience
    18. 18. UserTransportation Experience
    19. 19. You know whenthings feel “right”
    20. 20. You know whenthey don’t
    21. 21. How do transportation plannerscreate experiences?Networks Place
    22. 22. Traditional Traditional Suburban Development GridStreet networks
    23. 23. Transit networks
    24. 24. ~400’ ~86’Place
    25. 25. Peoria, IL Warehouse District
    26. 26. Peoria, IL Warehouse District
    27. 27. Peoria, IL Warehouse District
    28. 28. Donald Appleyard“Livable Streets” 1981
    29. 29. Experience
    30. 30. Experience - Key PrinciplesTry to understand your users
    31. 31. Experience - Key PrinciplesBe consistent
    32. 32. Experience - Key PrinciplesMake it convenient and simple
    33. 33. Experience - Key PrinciplesLeave room for error
    34. 34. Paul