Entropy MAB2012

October 3, 2012 at 3:58am
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Final note: The Cycle Shift Media Facade


The Concept

There is a problem in the cultural fabric of Sydney. Bicycles are simply not seen as credible forms of transport, and this creates an air of danger and intimidation when cycling in Sydney. This requires action; a behavioural change; a paradigm shift in attitudes.

The Cycle Shift Media Facade is a playful media facade that increases the visibility of cyclists in Sydney by multiplying the current bike movements in the city. By simply increasing visibility, we aim to bring about the much-needed cultural shift in Sydneysider attitudes towards bike culture on the roads. We determined from the document and our user research that in order to create a gradual cultural shift that accepted adopted cyclists, one must introduce more cyclists to roads (Cycle Strategy and Action Plan, 2.11).

Cyclists in Sydney can contribute by utilising the GPS data from their mobile phones or other devices. This information gets routed to our media facade, situated in the high density citizen thoroughfare of Central tunnel. This information turns into a visual multiplicity of cycle activity in Sydney — bicycles whizz past commuters in an artistic representation and multiplication of the current state of bicycles in transit. Bicycle awareness becomes apart of the cultural fabric of Sydneysiders. The commuters can also interact with the facade: on the opposite side of the
representation of Sydney cycle activity, a silhouette of a bike serendipitously follows each commuter on their daily walk, further connecting the public to cycle culture and engaging them in a playful conversation through the once-mundane tunnel transfer.


Design Process

After defining the brief and conducting initial research and moodboarding, we set out our design process with the use of some low-fi-cardsorting. Following this we grabbed lunch, a few beers, whilst we locked down our problem domain through the definition and discusion of civic themes and challenges, wanting to make sure we addressed a civic challenge specially targeted to our locality. We conducted user interviews, summarised them and evaluated the state of cycling in Sydney, along with it’s action plan. Following this was intensive research, conceptual brainstorming, and synthesis of our idea. Finally we storyboarded and filmed the video and wrote our final concept.


Research References
http://sydneycycleways.net/the-network/strategy-research/cycle-strategy-action-plan-2007-2017
Cycle Strategy And Action Plan 2007-2017.pdf
Electric bikes part of the Sydney Australia Sustainable Transport Plan
http://denmark.dk/en/green-living/bicycle-culture/
http://www.business.nsw.gov.au/invest-in-nsw/about-nsw/people-skills-and-education/population-estimates
http://denmark.dk/en/green-living/bicycle-culture/copenhageners-love-their-bikes/
http://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/media/vanilla/file/NCP2011_NSW.pdf


The Video
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/19696195/TheCycleShift.mov

3:51am
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A Clarifying Post

Just a clarifying post on our location as I don’t believe we’ve mentioned this.

Our location: Central Tunnel


Characteristics:

  • significantly large amount of foot traffic (the Central Train Station of Sydney)
  • people of all transport modes

3:37am
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What we’re going to design for

After discussing our four potential categories (mapping, data collection, education, promotion), across the user categories, we decided to focus on Promotion.

Especially, we wanted to facilitate the catalystic goal of creating recreational cyclists.
We determined from the document and our user research that in order to create a gradual cultural shift that accepted adopted cyclists, one must introduce more cyclists to roads (Cycle Strategy and Action Plan, 2.11). To do this, more commuter cyclists must be promoted, who are naturally evolved from recreational cyclists. Through this chain, recreational cyclists are the basis of this cultural shift. They themselves are derived from noncyclists, and are whom we intend to target.

3:32am
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Intensive research, conceptual brainstorming, synthesis into a solution

Hanley explaining his intensive research into Sydney’s Cycle Strategy & Action Plan: 2007 - 2017.

Detailed analysis of the strategy, looking at specific aims, targets, and appendix’s of the sub-action plans.

Ideas are forming!

Concepts and research, synthesising!

S Y N T H E S I S

Concept locked down!

3:28am
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Sydney’s City Action Plan

The City of Sydney Cycle Strategy and Action Plan (2007-2017) is a plan made to make cycling a more attractive form of transport.

Here is a snapshot of the specific aims and targets of the plan (as outlined on their site):


Here are some key points from the document:

  • Cycling in the city is perceived as too dangerous, especially for women
  • The perceived health benefits significantly outweigh the injury risks of cycling
  • Driver attitude and behavior is a crucial factor to the perceived danger of cycling. The best way to improve this is with more bikes.
  • Some cyclist’s must also appreciate legitimate road users moreso.
  • Both cyclists and pedestrians must recognise their shared pathways, and their consequent responsibility (similarly for cyclists and drivers).
  • Recreational routes are a good opportunity to promote cycling for recreation and tourism.
  • Sydney is filled with many roads that are characterised as ‘high difficulty’ due too; traffic speed, volume, buses, insufficient space, traffic signals not considering cyclists. In situations where a primary road is too impractical to build bike facilities, the city will promote safer, more convenient, and direct alternative routes.
  • The City of Sydney recognises, and has proposed, appropriate signage that considers cyclists also.
  • Cyclist rules can be fragmented, e.g. cyclists can also use some bus lanes (most drivers don’t seem to be aware of this).
  • Overall, the action plan attempts too:
    • support current cyclists
    • encourage potential cyclists
    • provide information on routes, safety and facilities
    • educate drivers and cyclists to respect all road users

The document greatly supports our own findings from our research and user interviews.

The action plan was additionally divided into a:

  • cycling action plan
  • cycling equity action plan
  • cycling safety action plan
  • cycling promotion action plan

From this, we gleaned four categories of focus:

  • mapping / trip planning
  • data collection
  • education
  • promotion

Additional bicycle user categories were also outlined, these were children, local cyclists, commuters, adult student cyclists, recreational cyclists, sport cyclists, tourist cyclists, bicycle couriers, and bicycle non-users.

References
http://sydneycycleways.net/the-network/strategy-research/cycle-strategy-action-plan-2007-2017
Cycle Strategy And Action Plan 2007-2017.pdf

3:24am
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The state of cycling in Sydney

Here are some comparative maps of bike maps between Sydney and other cities.

Melbourne vs Sydney


Aarhus vs Sydney

Amsterdam vs Sydney

Helsinki vs Sydney

Copenhagen vs Sydney

In terms of New South Wales vs Copenhagen, approximately 1.05 million people in NSW ride a bicycle each week. That is a large amount of people, however only 67% of the people who do ride, only ride for recreational purposes and only 13% ride for commuting. When comparing this to the city of Copenhagen, a massive 50% of the entire population ride bicycles to commute to work/study.

Additionally, in parts of Australia, the transport sector can make up to 25% of our greenhouse gas emissions.

Some quotes from our user interviews:

  • “Most bikes are regarded as toys”, not taken seriously on roads and can lead to frustration.
  • “Get rid of them, get them off the road! Or give them more bike lanes” - an interviewee says in regards to cyclists
  • “bottom of the food chain” - is what a cyclist states they can be considered as
  • “Sydney can be quite dangerous to ride on main streets”
  • “In Sydney, you must be quite motivated to ride”.

This is a diagram of the current and proposed bike network of Sydney by the year 2030.

For reference, this is a google map view of the same area of Sydney

The City of Sydney provides a better diagram comparing the current and proposed networks.

The City of Sydney also provides diagrams of High difficulty roads, or prohibited roads:

References
Cycle Strategy And Action Plan 2007-2017.pdf
Electric bikes part of the Sydney Australia Sustainable Transport Plan
http://denmark.dk/en/green-living/bicycle-culture/
http://www.business.nsw.gov.au/invest-in-nsw/about-nsw/people-skills-and-education/population-estimates
http://denmark.dk/en/green-living/bicycle-culture/copenhageners-love-their-bikes/
http://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/media/vanilla/file/NCP2011_NSW.pdf

2:52am
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Summary of interview findings (the summary of summaries!)

  • “Most bikes are regarded as toys”, as in, they are not taken seriously as a valid form of vehicle transport.
  • The notion that the more cyclists there are on the roads of Sydney, others non-cyclists will be influenced to also take up cycling. This increases the visibility of cyclists, which can act as a slow catalyst for positive behavioural change towards cycle culture.
  • Bicyclists are perceived quite poorly on the roads of Sydney — considered “bottom of the food chain”
  • Even if Sydneysiders own a bike, they can have “confidence issues” with the dangers involved of riding in Sydney traffic. It is currently considered dangerous in Sydney to ride on major streets.
  • Drivers in Sydney aren’t used to cyclists on the road — not like drivers in European countries such as Austria are.
  • If more people in Sydney simply started cycling, then drivers would be more subconsciously aware, and better equipped to mutually co-exist with cyclists.
  • Christian’s story of the obstacle placed in the way of a bike path with no concern for bicyclists, instead deciding to warn drivers of the obstacle, highlights an important aspect of Sydney culture towards bicyclists and to our research: we initially assumed that we would focus on instigating a positive attitude shift towards bicycle culture for people transiting in cars, but this story has shown us that the problem may be rooted further in the cultural fabric of Sydney, and would ideally warrant a paradigm shift in how Sydney, as a culture, perceives bicycle culture, particularly as a credible form of transport around the city.
  • Christian’s views on the idea of taking up cycling because it is good for the environment as “rubbish” are interesting because it may signal a wrong approach to shifting cultural attitudes in a positive way towards bicycle culture in Sydney. Perhaps a better view would be to elevate the bicycle as a credible transport vehicle.

October 2, 2012 at 9:22pm
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We welcome Emila Yang, a new (late) member of our group!!

6:34pm
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User Interviews (NOW with interview summaries!)

First User Interview: Rick from Cheeky Transport

Rick

  • Rick works in a successful, well-respected bicycle shop in the suburb of Newtown, considered Sydney’s “Inner West”, and lives two suburbs away.
  • Bicyclists are perceived quite poorly on the roads of Sydney — considered “bottom of the food chain”
  • The infrastructure in Sydney for bicycles has definitely improved since the “cycle strategy action plan” has begun implementation, but there is still room for improvement.
  • Rick is confident in riding in Sydney traffic, however his wife has a “confidence issue” with the dangers involved.

  • Rick says that one of the major problems regarding the perception of bicycle culture in Sydney is that “most bikes are regarded as toys”, as in, they are not taken seriously as a valid form of vehicle transport. Rick says that the Sydney bike industry can be partly to blame for this, as they provide only two major types of categories for prospecting bicycle buyers: racing bikes, or mountain bikes. Many customers to the shop are looking for neither of these but rather a transport bike, a bike to be used to get around the city. He suggests that if the industry smartens up and offers transport cycling as a prominent trade category, then that would further help bicycles reach their full potential of perceptually valid transport vehicles.

  • Rick mentioned Holland’s decision in the 60s to turn itself into a “cycling utopia”, which has made it one of the most cycle-friendly cities in the world today. According to Rick, the cycle-friendlyness of the city “didn’t just happen, it required thoughtful planning”.

User Interview 2: Ingrid, a visiting PhD candidate from Austria. Originally from Italy.

  • Ingrid has lived in various parts of Europe for most of her life, growing up in such bicycle friendly cities and has been in Sydney for less than 1 year.
  • People ride much more often in Austria (overseas)
  • Only a few bicycle lanes in Sydney - not useful for travelling A to B
    • Also not on important streets (George…)
  • if riding on George St. she said she would fear for her life.
    • Also doesn’t want to think about riding on Parramatta / Victoria Rd.
  • “Austria has a better cycling network”

  • Drivers in Sydney still aren’t used to cyclists on the road.
  • Comments about bike network
    • need to improve so it exists where its actually necessary
    • bike lanes aren’t direct.
  • Personal experience with cars
    • annoyed drivers who don’t realise it’s the only route cyclists (she) can take.
    • hasn’t come across aggressive drivers as such but it’s never ‘personal’
  • Ingrid says if more people started cycling then drivers would be subconsciously aware.

Ingrid’s bike!


User Interview 3: Christian, who has ridden bicycles extensively in Holland, Netherlands. Rides to University every day from his home.

Christian

  • Has ridden extensively in The Netherlands, Holland and Amsterdam.
  • Christian finds the mentality towards people who ride bikes in Sydney peculiar. In Holland, it is strange if you can cycle to work but choose not to; in Sydney, it is strange if you cycle to work but can choose not to! This relates to Sydney culture not accommodating for bike culture as a credible form of transport. Rick had similar concerns.
  • But Christian acknowledges that this may be because of a number of reasons, such as the urban sprawl of Sydney compared to Holland; the population density; the number of lanes and denser traffic in Sydney; and the flatland of Holland, compared to the “exhausting” hill landscape of Sydney.
  • “In Sydney, you must be quite motivated to ride”.
  • “Sydney can be quite dangerous to ride on main streets”
  • Christian feels that the idea of taking up cycling because it is good for the environment is “rubbish”. As in, people don’t take up cycling for that reason, even if it is sometimes marketed that way,
  • Christian had a really interesting story to tell regarding an attitude towards bicycle riders by constructions workers. Christian recalled riding home one night where an enormous obstacle had been put in the way of the bike path. The obstacle was unlit and very hard to see. There was a warning sign for the obstacle, however it was directed at passing cars, not bicyclists on the bike path! Even worse, the obstacle proved to be of no concern to cars, who with their headlights, were able to see the obstacle when they approached anyway.

Impromptu group discussion

  • A car driver in the discussion was particularly hostile towards cyclists on Sydney roads. “Get rid of them, get them off the road! Or give them more bike lanes” was her suggestion. But what do you think of pedestrians? We asked. “Pedestrians are annoying too!”
  • Another member of the discussion mentioned the petition that has circulated around Sydney which calls for all cyclists to have number plates attached, expressing his anger at cyclists avoiding road rules and being able to get away with it.

The data and the reward!

6:10pm
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Problem-domain refinement

After contemplating upon localized civil themes and challenges over lunch we narrowed down our choices to:

  • Sydney’s Airport Curfew (yes we have a curfew)
  • Jill Meagher’s case - the issue of the sense of security
  • bike lanes - or the lack thereof and attitudes
  • ticketing bus system