rusty-bike.jpg
P1070289.JPG
rusty-bike.jpg
rusty-bike.jpg

Bguided


SCROLL DOWN

Bguided


Bguided

 
 

This project is the result of a three-month service design workshop. Our goal was to design a service that incorporated "big data" for the city of Chicago.

We created a service that provides value to the city of Chicago by encouraging new bicyclists to begin riding while providing Chicago with important data on its biking community and infrastructure.

Bguided is a bicycling guiding service that both connects novice riders to bike ambassadors, and crowd-sources route information in a community.

 
 

Bguided is a bicycling guiding service that both connects novice riders to bike ambassadors, and crowd-sources route information in a community. Expert ambassadors guide users and teach them the rules, regulations, and tips and tricks to safe riding. While an online community creates just-in-time, detailed route information about road conditions, traffic, and alerts so that bikers can prepare for their ride in advance

 

 
 

 

Bguided

  • Connects novice riders to bike ambassadors

  • Crowdsources route information and conditions

 

 

 

1. Schedule a guided ride

• Choose to schedule a guided ride
• Ambassadors ride on six major bike routes
• Pick a time that fits your schedule
• And learn about your guide

 

 

2. Get a welcome kit

• Get a welcome kit after your first trip that includes:
- bike map with road rules
- bike light
- tool kit
• Continue to earn badges for achievements

 

 

3. Plan your ride ahead of time

• Save your common routes
• Look ahead before you ride at traffic, weather, and road conditions
• Record your experiences with road conditions, or new and clever routes, and share them with the community.

 
 
 
 

Business Plan

The cost to the city of one Guided Ride would be $5. This includes the cost of the ambassador and a welcome kit.  

Assuming that 5% of the target user group of 200,000 public transportation users for travel less that 5 miles, we estimate 17,000 users bringing revenue of $250,000 per year. Including all other costs of building and maintaining the platform, the total cost of running the service would be less than 1% of the budget set aside for building the infrastructure for Chicago's 20/20 plan.

From existing research on the effects of having a bike friendly city, we know that the impact of the change would be that Chicagoans would get an environmentally conscious city, improved public health, safer roads, more profitable local businesses, better image of the city and a higher quality of life.

 
 

For less than 1% of the investment in infrastructure, Chicago gets a service to help get bicyclists into those new lanes

 
P1070289.JPG

Process


Process


Research

We began with some intensive rounds of research. Our research consisted of three tasks, plus our secondary research:

  • Interviews
  • Vote Survey
  • Experience Prototype
 

Interviews

We conducted six interviews. Among our interviewees were novice bicyclists, expert cyclists, and a non-cycling motorists (including a self described bike-hater). We sat with them for an extended in-person interview to get their feelings about biking in Chicago.

We found that the experts have many tricks and tips to surviving on the bike lanes of Chicago. One participant described his journey from novice to expert. We started a catalog of the many ways that people are afraid to bike, and how people cope.
 

 
 

Vote Survey

We knew that there are a lot of strong opinions around bicycling, both around the culture of cycling in Chicago and about the nostalgia of biking as kids. To get people to commit the time to write their own biking stories we turned the survey into a vote. Bike? Yes or No. Then we asked the participants to write their story and cast their ballot. We got an enormous response.

There were several reasons why we chose make the survey a ballot. We wanted to get a large sample of qualitative data from the student body. There were a lot of web surveys going around as other students worked on research. But many people don't fill out the web surveys. We wanted to improve the response rate of our own survey.

We wanted something that was different. Something tactile to give it importance, long form because we were most interested in stories not data points, and immediate. We wanted people to answer right away, because if they put it off they would never get back to it. 

After a struggle about the text - just what is anyone voting for? - we decided to be ambiguous. The votes were a simple yes or no to the question 'Bike?' with spaces to write more around 'Why?' and 'Tell us a story about biking in Chicago.' The response was overwhelming - we got answers back from a large majority of students.

 
vote_P1070887.jpg
 

Experience Prototype

Like all great prototypes our experience prototype failed spectacularly. We gathered many volunteers from our classmates to help us run a concierge service for one participant. We had our guinea-pig, a nervous biking beginner, ride the fast streets of Chicago. We led her on an imagined mission to go from her home in Humboldt Park to the Lincoln Park Zoo. On the way she encountered many groups of cyclists, of different types. Our service coordinated her connection to each group, so that she was led by a group throughout her journey. We followed up with a group interview afterwards where we discussed the experience of everyone who rode. 

The prototype was logistically ambitious. Aashika was controller, in constant phone contact with several different groups, while I rode with our participant acting as 'Bevy,' the service. We walked through it ahead of time with paper models. Then made instruction pages so that all of the participants knew their roles.

 
 

Analysis

 
 

By analyzing our research data we came up with many new insights. Many of these were around the emotions connected to biking, such as the connection to childhood and our first tastes of freedom, or the anger of the people on the road. Others involved etiquette and knowledge of biking, and more. We distilled three insights and generated design principles.

 
 

Selected Insights

Bike knowledge is tribal: to learn rules and etiquette, novices identify “expert looking” bicyclists and mimic them.

Bicyclists are forced to choose routes in advance using tools they do not trust. They are left on their own when these tools fail them.

Bicyclists struggle to identify a place on the road because the rules are neither under-stood nor enforced. Bike-car-pedestrian etiquette is not well defined.

 

Design Principles


Encourage new/potential bikers using existing bikers as facilitators

Make routing bike specific - look at roads as potential bike routes

Help codify rules & etiquette bottom-up

Facilitate self-enforcement of rules in groups/communities

Identify, highlight & encourage experts to lead groups/communities

 

Service blueprint


 

Initial Concept: Bevy

 

Building on our research and insights, we developed a novel service for new and wary bike riders. Bevy is a service that matches biking commuters to others going their way. The service identifies the best route to your destination and arranges a meeting node where you can wait to catch a “bevy” of other cyclists. By matching novices with groups of other cyclists, the service eases newbies into the biking scene. And the communities of cyclists that grow move biking culture in a positive direction.

 
 
 
 

We tested the initial concept by prototyping the service and trying it out (see Experience Prototype above). We found fatal flaws in the concept. At this point we decided to pivot to a different concept. The new concept, after much refinement, became Bguided.

 
rusty-bike.jpg

bguided-insights


bguided-insights


Insights

 

Biking in Chicago: Barriers beyond infrastructure

To pursue the vision of making Chicago the most Bicycling Friendly City in the country, the city plans to build 645 miles of bike-lanes at a cost of $40 million.

Our research suggests that building infrastructure to support biking will not be enough to encourage more people to bike. Apart from physical barriers, there are emotional and cognitive barriers to biking in Chicago.

With an objective to explore the sentiment of biking in Chicago we conducted interviews and surveys with different kinds of bikers as well as non-bikers.

 
 

The city of Chicago is investing a lot in overcoming the infrastructural barriers to bicycling. We are investing more than $40 million into building 645 miles of new bike lanes. But that might not be enough.

We found that potential bicyclists also have their own emotional and cognitive barriers to overcome. People are afraid to ride on crowded streets. Often they have seen or experienced negative interactions between bicyclists and cars. They are unsure of the rules to riding, and not confident of the tools they will rely on.

 

3 barriers to biking:

Physical

Emotional

Cognitive

 
 
 

Emotional barriers 

Emotional barriers in the form of fear, confusion, or insecurity prevent potential bikers from starting out. Rumor has it that riding is dangerous.

Cognitive barriers 

Novice bicyclists don’t know the rules of the road, or the expected etiquette. This prevents a novice from trying, or leads to misunderstandings when they do attempt to ride on the city roads.


 

A bicyclist's journey

Once over the initial hurdle of their first time riding, it becomes easier for new bikers to continue. As their comfort grows they ride more, eventually becoming experts themselves, willing to give back to the biking community.

 
 

The experience of biking: the stages and associated anxieties

 

Lessons from experts

As we spoke with advanced bikers who have successfully crossed these barriers to become regular riders in the city, we realized that the following are key factors to enable new bikers to become comfortable with riding:

 

 

Follow to learn

In the absence of formal training and codification of the rules and regulations of riding, advanced riders started out with mimicking existing expert-looking people on the street. 

 

“I didn't know how to read the street. I followed bike couriers. From them I learned how to salmon correctly, to check both ways when crossing a one-way, to stop for soft turns, but not for hard turns, and to do it without pissing anyone off...”

Planning is key

Most advanced bikers plan their route in advance. The process is usually intricate and in the absence of appropriate tools, require workarounds. 

 

"When I first started riding here, I would print direction or a map and put it in a ziplock bag and wedge it in my shorts. I didn't really trust Google maps, they were either wrong or the routes they would make were ‘conservative’."

Seek real-time knowledge

Due to Chicago's unforgiving weather and the unpredictability of the urban landscape, advanced bikers gather information from different sources to understand what the conditions of riding will be that day. This helps them make crucial decisions about which route to take. 

 

“On days of snow, I just peak out of my window to see if the road has been cleaned. Chances are, if the street outside my house is clean, so is most of the streets I plan to take. They are about the same size and as busy.”


 

Concept

 

 

Bguided is a bicycling guiding service that both connects novice riders to bike ambassadors, and crowd-sources route information in a community. Expert ambassadors guide users and teach them the rules, regulations, and tips and tricks to safe riding. While an online community creates just-in-time, detailed route information about road conditions, traffic, and alerts so that bikers can prepare for their ride in advance

 

 
 

 

Bguided

  • Connects novice riders to bike ambassadors

  • Crowdsources route information and conditions

 

 

 

1. Schedule a guided ride

• Choose to schedule a guided ride
• Ambassadors ride on six major bike routes
• Pick a time that fits your schedule
• And learn about your guide

 

 

2. Get a welcome kit

• Get a welcome kit after your first trip that includes:
- bike map with road rules
- bike light
- tool kit
• Continue to earn badges for achievements

 

 

3. Plan your ride ahead of time

• Save your common routes
• Look ahead before you ride at traffic, weather, and road conditions
• Record your experiences with road conditions, or new and clever routes, and share them with the community.

 
 
 
 

Business Plan

The cost to the city of one Guided Ride would be $5. This includes the cost of the ambassador and a welcome kit.  

Assuming that 5% of the target user group of 200,000 public transportation users for travel less that 5 miles, we estimate 17,000 users bringing revenue of $250,000 per year. Including all other costs of building and maintaining the platform, the total cost of running the service would be less than 1% of the budget set aside for building the infrastructure for Chicago's 20/20 plan.

From existing research on the effects of having a bike friendly city, we know that the impact of the change would be that Chicagoans would get an environmentally conscious city, improved public health, safer roads, more profitable local businesses, better image of the city and a higher quality of life.

 
 

For less than 1% of the investment in infrastructure, Chicago gets a service to help get bicyclists into those new lanes