par julie Rieg • Innovation

Students of the Sustainable and Design School create nudges to improve travels for people with reduced mobility

Psychosociologists developed the concept of nudges in the 90s in the United States and in the 2000s in Europe. Nudges encourage individuals to act in the direction of the general interest, without constraint and effort. They are an opportunity for public institutions to embody their public policies in the field and at a lower cost. The mobilized tools play on the physical environment and on the social conformity. They unconsciously restructure the « architecture of choices » in our brain. In the field of mobility, there are mostly nudges that act on the physical environment to encourage people to walk. These nudges consist of making visible the pedestrian path on the ground or to install a piano on the steps of a staircase so that people do not take the escalator.

Can we use nudge principle to educate design students about sustainable mobility? We think so. That’s why Julie Rieg invited students of the Sustainable Design School to create nudges to improve travels for people with reduced mobility. Five groups of students were selected for the relevance of their ideas and the quality of their deliver. They directly present their work below. You can also find their productions and the presentation of the course by clicking here.

About people with reduced mobility

According to the Walloon Code of Spatial Planning, Urban Planning and Heritage, « a person with reduced mobility is a person who is obstructed in his movements by reason of his size, condition, age, permanent or temporary disability, as well as the equipment or instruments he must use to travel ». In 2013, the Inclusive Mobility Laboratory estimated at 20% the percentage of the French population who is possibly concerned by mobility difficulties.

By groups of 2 people, students worked on the following persona: a person in a wheelchair,  a person with hearing loss, a visually impaired person, an autistic person, a person over 75, a precarious worker, a rural youth, a mother of two children under 6, a child over 6 years old, a teenager, a double bass player, a bicycle delivery man and a tourist who does not speak French.

Art lane for rural youth

By Francesca Blanco and Justine Severino

In today’s world, even though we are more connected in the digital space, we still have a number of problems when it comes to physical connections due to several factors. These lead to a lack of opportunities to a substantial amount of people resulting in the inability for them to progress further into society. Due to rapid urbanization, everything is centralized in the big cities and almost all businesses and amenities are found in these areas. This creates a problem for the rural towns as the population would now have to either move to the city, commute long distances or unfortunately, reject opportunities that may come their way. The younger generation is one of the most affected by it which is why we chose the rural youth as the center of our nudge design. One of the problems that this demographic encounters is the lack of proper transportation options. Buses only come every hour which means they often rely on soft mobility when they travel. From our research, a lot of these areas do not have proper infrastructure to make this type of mobility a safe option. Through this, we developed the “Art Lane”, which is painted art on the side of the road to act as sidewalks and make a safe path for pedestrians through these visual cues. The road will become adaptable depending on the needs of the current moment because there aren’t physical barriers between the road itself and the sidewalk. Without people, cars will go along as usual. Meanwhile with pedestrians walking on the Art Lane, cars will be nudged to avoid and make space for it.

Blue Comfort for autistic people

By Celia Saintillan and Saurabh Bedarkar

When we think of public transportation, we think it is convenient for everyone. But that is not true, especially for people who are on the autism spectrum. Autism Spectrum, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or autism spectrum condition (ASC), is a range of neurodevelopmental disorders that includes autism. Individuals on the spectrum are often hypersensitive to sensory stimuli and face problems in social communication and social interaction. According to France’s highest administrative court estimates, there are 700,000 autistic people in the country. Planning and carrying out a successful journey requires a complex series of steps and this can be challenging for people on the spectrum. Anxiety around social interaction and communication adds to the stress, particularly when there are unexpected changes to the transport timetables.

At its core, public transport is a social place, and through our research we know that Autistic people are not comfortable in social spaces and crowded areas. This leads to lower usage of public transport among such users. As a solution, we focused on developing a comfortable zone in metro stations/ bus stops, dedicated to Autistic Passengers and we call it “Blue Comfort”. This dedicated zone will distant from the normal public seating and walking areas, so as to create a comfortable area with a safe distance from the crowd for the autistic passengers. It will be marked with patterns in Blue color as the color blue acts a de-stressor and helps the user in staying calm. This way, Blue comfort will make the users feel safer during their journey and encourage the use of public transportation.

KidsCycling for children over 6

By Léa Fedrigucci & Sophie Love

Today in some countries young children (6 to 12) are more independent than in France as in Holland or in Denmark for example. Indeed, roads are more secure and the parents let them ride their bike to go to their daily activities. Our solution tends to do the same for the French children.

To do so, we have created two solutions. The first one is about eye catching colors and sentences. The colored gradient path and the billboards are placed at dangerous crossroads and incite the car to be careful about the bike path and so the bikers.

Furthermore, in order to incite children to stop at stoplights and avoid accidents, we created some rest supports for children that are working like a game for them. Children can try to put their feet on the footprint and rest.

Thank to all this solution, we are able to increase the security of children and other bike users. This leads to the increase of parents’ confidence in the car drivers and to more independence for young children.

Rider Zebra for urban bicycle riders

By Albert Phan & Joachim El Malek

Road traffic in urban areas are full of activities and dangers. Cars, buses, trucks, 2-wheels, pedestrians, all together they form a dense and complex flow of mobility. Among them are bicycle riders, with their overwhelming mix of speed and agility, accessibility and ease of use, they are a very popular and affordable means of transportation. But they come with some major issues, visibility (or the lack of) being one of the most common source of danger and cause of accidents.

We tried to answer that safety and visibility problematic, mainly for bicycle deliverers, who are very often in need to rush for their jobs. But our solution can also be applied and useful for regular everyday bicycle rider. With a clear understanding of the nudge potential and the economic constraints (it has to be affordable and simple), we started to gather our first ideas.

We drew our inspirations from various graphical patterns often used to manipulate and confuse the viewer’s perception and senses. They can be seen in many contexts such as :

  • military boats (to confuse the enemy on their movements and directions)
  • optical illusion patterns (to manipulate our sense of perception)
  • road signaletics (to unconsciously guide our focus and field of view)
  • car prototypes in testing (to hide the volumes and shapes of the bodywork)
  • animals in nature (to confuse predators and other animals)

From there, we thought about using for our bicycle riders visuals patterns that would unconsciously and naturally attract the eyes, especially while in movement. The nudge “effect” would be to catch for example a car driver’s attention, to make the bicycle rider visible and stand out from the mass, to make the car driver conscious of their activity and behavior.

Our concept idea uses specific visuals, that would be implemented on their equipment and riding gear (helmet, jacket, clothes, bag, wheels, etc), to help them become visible and make other road users aware of their presence and movements. With this concept we aim to improve the rider’s safety with a simple, effective and affordable solution.

Walking riddle for modal change

By Odile-Maria D’Abbadie & Shi Yue

WALKING RIDDLE is a cycle program that encourages people to walk to either bus or train station. By following the light poles on the street sidewalk, people read posters that contain interesting facts and funny riddles of the city and country. It’s cycle because riddles and facts are renovated each month after a competition takes place in the city. Citizens propose their own and then their names are present in each poster. The idea of following the next pole to know the answer is a way to make walking distances entertaining and shorter, and also avoid using car for short distances.