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Hamish Tennent - 08144634 Senior Project Research and Design Report Oliver Neuland Massey University 2011 198.454 ID Research Project

Hamish Tennent - 08144634 Senior Project Research and Design Report Part 1. Research Oliver Neuland Massey University 2011 198.454 ID Research Project

I, Hamish Tennent, hereby state that all information contained within the following document is of my own creation unless otherwise referenced or stated. All images used, unless stated are my own photographs or of my own personal creation. The work will remain the property of the author and should not be replicated, reproduced or used in anyway without prior consent and acknowledgement.

Name: Signed: Date:


This report outlines the research and initial ideation and concept phase of a year long senior project completed whilst at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand. Currently urban transportation is solved with a myriad of solutions from the car to bus, but with increasing global awareness of environmental problems linked to fossil fuels, the bicycle is making a strong comeback. My project aims to look at the inherent problems in the partnership between the modern commuter and the bicycle and how both the user and their transport suffers when trying to integrate into public transport system. By identifying early on that the connection between the bicycle and its urban surroundings have been developed with often fragmented and disjointed goals I aim to present a solution that is both a standalone product and capable of interacting with a wide range of public transport systems. A variety or research methods have been used in my process and as I began this project I started out with a large number of broad spectrum approaches that in turn led me to focus into specific and in-depth problems and areas of a wide range of products and systems. In the early phases of the project I read about and observed a wide range of transportation solutions that allowed me to up-skill and gave me the knowledge to ask targeted questions during an early survey and later in expert and one-on-one interviews with end users. The outcome of this research phase of my report is to provide a solid base of information and knowledge that will help me push forward into the design phase where I will ultimately end up with a functional, appropriate, sustainable and desirable end solution.

hamish tennent April 2011

Table Of Contents 1.0 Glossary Of Terms 2.0 Background 2.1 Project Vision 2.2 Initial Research Questions 2.3 Mindmapping 3.0 Research And Design Objectives 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Key People 3.3 Full Project Timeline 3.4 Research and Ideation Timeline 3.5 Research Methods 3.5.1 Summary Of Research Methods 3.6 User Profile 3.7 Character Profiles 3.8 Current Issues 3.9 Sustainability 4.0 Key Research Findings 4.1 Observational Study 4.2 Streetside Survey 4.3 Broad Spectrum Questionnaire 4.4 Informance Observations 4.4.1 Bike Teardown 4.5 User Interviews 4.6 Expert Interviews 4.7 Market Analysis 4.7.1 Market Map 4.7.2 Market Evaluation 4.8 Case Studies 4.8.1 Velib Case Study 4.8.2 Barclays Cycle Hire Case Study 4.8.3 Caltrain Case Study 4.8.4 Trimet Case Study 4.8.5 BikeMi Case Study 4.9 Use and Abuse Observance 5.0 End User Profile 5.1 End User Scenario 5.2 End User Experience 6.0 Design Schematics 6.1 Schematic Design Map 7.0 Conclusion 7.1 Next Steps 8.0 Full Charts

1.0 Glossary Of Terms VOC’s - Volatile Organic Compounds

A common air pollutant emitted from motor vehicle that after prolonged exposure has been linked to a number of health affects on the lungs and brain

BTEX - Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylenes

These chemical compounds are associated with a range of human health effects, from headaches and eye irritation to cancer

MTB - Mountain Bike

A type of bicycle designed with a more robust frame and treaded wheel to be used in off road settings

Track Bike

A speed driven design to be used in velodrome’s or on-road racing

image courtesy of

2.0 Background

Sourced from ‘World Economics’ - 2005

With the population set to increase to over 8 billion by the year 2030 (United State Census Bureau) and with 62% (5 billion) people to be based in urban environments (Schlein and De Capua, 2007), the way we move within urban and metropolitan areas is going to become an increasingly stressful area of our lives. A look at how we manage this problem today reveals an incredible dependency on fossil fuels, most centrally, the automobile. My main goal for this project is to provide a solution for today’s market that will encourage people who drive cars, or people who can’t afford it to sustainably, cheaply and efficiently move around to and from work, school or wherever they need to go. With the environmental problems caused by fossil fuels becoming and ever increasing social issue in modern day society, we as a race need to find ways to decrease the impact of our daily lives. With the western worlds dependence on the automobile, governments have tried to provide solutions that will entice people from their cars and onto buses, trains and other more eco-friendly transportation solutions. This move has failed to address a large number of problems and with the latest push towards getting people riding bicycles either the entire way or in partnership with transportation methods multiple key issues have been left unsolved. With independence being a huge factor in why people choose to use their cars in place of public buses, trains or light rail systems, my aim is to afford this independence and freedom by way of my solution. With bike share systems becoming popular around the world officials have attempted to provide this freedom of travel to its users. What they have ignored is the key market of the commuter, locating all of their bike stations in downtown public areas where commerce, not housing is based. Similar is the problems with public transportation, often creating a ‘first mile, last mile’ scenario where the user is expected to travel a distance to the bus/train station and at their departure from the vehicle, travel from this location to their destination.

2.1 Project Vision The Aim: To provide a solution that allows people of all social classes, genders and cultures to easily and cost effectively move within urban environments.

The aim of my project is to address these issues by looking at all aspects of the problem, from governmental initiatives, to the wants, needs and problems of the end user. This will lead me to develop a solution that is considered and provides a way in which people will see environmentally friendly transportation as the most effective, logical, and desirable solution for them. I aim to balance the needs of a user that wants the freedom that a car gives them, the cost a bus provides and the ease of a bicycle. My vision for the solution of this project is to end up with a product that can be sold to a wide spectrum of people and provide them with a reliable and cost effective solution that takes into account sustainability from all angles of the design process. I am aiming to design a solution to be used as a tool in peoples lives and accordingly must excel in all functional areas but be a desirable and aesthetically appeasing object that the user is proud of. With the nature of human culture being so heavily influenced on how we look and how we are seen, my solution must not only be functional but also be an object my user is proud of owning and happy to use.

2.2 Initial Research Questions

Initial Research Question How can people living in all urban areas be provided with an individual and empowering transport solution that affords them with a reliable method of moving within close distances?

In what way can the design decisions/cultures we have today positively effect our future?

How can someone who In what way can a transport owns their own home but system be developed in cant afford to regularly order to service mass use the car benefit from a populations across many product or system to allow cultures and countries? them close range transport in the local neighbourhood?

These initial questions gave me the starting points that for my initial research phase of the project, with each question giving me different direction and focus. The overall question at the top of the page is a question that I have kept the entire research phase and helped me focus in on where I want the brief to go, whilst still allowing me the freedom to push the brief in and direction I wanted.

2.3 Mindmapping Mindmapping allowed me to quickly track my thoughts, questions, responses and comments on the large mount of reading and observation work I was doing around a broad spectrum of transportation topics. Due to the fact I didn’t yet have fully formed ideas, responses, concepts or even comments, the form of research allowed me to record whatever was in my head and build off the thought or move onto another. Over the weeks that I kept this mindmap running, I could easily see areas where I was focusing and quickly began to see key areas of interest. Linking these ‘thought bubbles’ also allowed me to see common themes and ideas, and I could then build off these to build stronger ideas. Three distinct areas began to develop an merge during the duration of this mindmap, which were; current transport solutions and my initial thoughts on them, urban poverty, future transportation.

Full mindmap available at:

2.3 Mindmapping

Urban Poverty My interest in research was peaked by the ideas of widespread urban poverty, with and entire subclass of the incredibly poor. I began to think of ideas that could allow people too; efficiently, swiftly and most of all reliably move within the areas they needed too.

2.3 Mindmapping

Future Transportation The ever increasing need to design solutions that a large number of people in the future will need is a pressing issue for me with this. By 2050, 9 Billion people are expected to live on this planet, Key research questions to come from this phase included; How will Earth cope with this? How will the people live in these massive urban cities? What systems of today have spawned the systems of tomorrow?

2.3 Mindmapping

Current Transportation Solutions I looked heavily into how currently offered transport solutions service their market, whether they were appropriate and how they serviced their users. What issues arrive within the modern city when trying to easily, reliably, and cheaply move within it? What maintenance needs to occur for these solutions? Do these solutions take the form of products or systems? How do individual transportation products fit within larger public systems?

2.3 Mindmapping

Summary With key focuses around current transport solutions and their problems, urban poverty and future transportation, mind mapping allowed me a way of jotting down thoughts, questions, ideas and explore each of them. This mindmap served as an early dumping ground for all my initial thoughts and ideas and eventually shaped into a jumping point for areas I wanted to research. By zooming out and viewing the mindmap I could see areas which weren’t developed and trains of thoughts that were expanding into new ideas and. This allowed me to very easily identify key areas in which I was consciously or subconsciously focusing on and split these ideas out into bigger trains. Featured in the mind map was a whole bunch of research questions that would in turn trigger new ‘thought centres’, these thought centres often spawned a whole bunch of concept ideas and by keeping the very practical and factual nature of the mind map in balance with the user profiles I created, I could begin generating the very early stages of concepts. I was hesitant at first to write these early ideas down but came to the conclusion that writing them on post-it notes would allow me to put them down on paper and forget them until much later, thus clearing my head of them and allowing myself to push onwards without dwelling on these ideas.

3.0 Research And Design Objectives

Research Objectives Understand the current methods of commuter transportation available for someone who travels to and from work every day. Understand why certain people use certain methods, whether they would be willing to try new ways and if they aren’t, why they wouldn’t be. A thorough understanding of the competition, in the form of private companies such as large bicycle manufactures. Find what problems people have with how they travel in urban areas and understand the root causes of these problems Based on the above research, develop a list of criteria to solve the existing problems in and encourage a sustainable market solution that is attractive to all target users.

Design and Development Objectives Produce a cost effective solution that allows the user to make informed decisions about the long term costs that will be involved. Reduce the social stigmata around bicycling and encourage people to look at the bicycle as a tool to be used more frequently than the car or motorcycle. Increase independent freedom for people too young or too poor who want to interact with an environment further than walking can access. A simple design that doesn’t dress a bad solution up with excess features and complex systems. A considered solution that heeds all areas of the product life cycle and maximises benefits for all stakeholders.

3.1 Introduction

As I had set out to improve the way in which people move within their close urban environments, my research phase began with beginning to understand how people did this currently.

One of my earliest discoveries was the relatively short distances people travel to and from work, as most with stable jobs moved close or worked near their home, allowing them an easy commute in mornings and evenings. Studies have shown that the daily commute to and from work is the most stressful day-to-day activity we encounter (Turcotte, pg 2), with trade-offs being made between inconvenient scheduling times, lateness penalties and a desire to minimise the time spent in congestion’ (Noland and Small, Pg 4). All these factors are combined with the over-riding desire to try and keep costs as low as possible and in the case of some, options are removed because of rising petrol and maintenance costs either directly (car, truck) or indirectly (rising bus/train costs). The aim of my research project is to balance these factors by looking into how people respond to different modes of transport, what they encounter and dislike about them and why they choose to move within urban areas in the ways that they do.

The needs and wants of the end user is however, only one of the four that I will need to address if I am to present a truly well designed, impacting and thoughtful product. With the media’s recent turn to highlight the importance of sustainability in the way we live, the global population is beginning to implement better strategies on reducing the impact they have on the world around them. One area in which western society in particular falls down though is this daily commute, with millions of people sitting in four or five person cars occupied by one person every morning and evening to and from their workplace. With studies showing that not only is driving a motor vehicle the most environmentally damaging common urban transportation method, it also poses the most risks to the user. Car commuters had the highest exposure to VOC’s and BTEX pollutants, followed by bus and train users, with walking and cyclists experiencing the lowest exposure to these potentially damaging chemicals (Chertok et al, pg 3).

3.2 Key People Mentors and In-Depth Interview Subjects Oliver Neuland Project Tutor John McCluskey Tutor, Mentor and Interview Subject Commuting cyclist for 30 years. Designer of the Disney Light Rail System, Empire Valley Railroad System, Honolulu’s Light Rail System, Phoenix METRO Light Rail.

Jim Shook Tutor, Mentor Designer of the Northern California’s Caltrain System

Erdem Selek Mentor Provided feedback and was a liaison for the project

McCord Blackwell Project Mentor, User/Expert Interview Commuting cyclist for 10 years. Competitive Track Cyclist for 5 seasons. 3 Years Retail Experience In MTB and Road Industry

Douglas Schaller Project Mentor, User/Expert Interview Commuting cyclist for 5 years. Competitive Track Cyclist for 2 seasons. Part-time bicycle mechanic

Soraya Nasirian & Oscar Mulder User/Expert Interview Casual/Commuter cyclists for 30 years. Owners/Operators of My Dutch Bike, San Francisco

Bryan Day User Interview Commuter cyclist for 8 years. Junior Designer at Specialized bicycles

Dave Baker Expert Interview President of the San Francisco Bike Coalition. Commuter cyclist for 30 years. Member of the SFBC since 2000

Brooke DuBose Expert Interview Transportation planner for Fehr & Peer Worked for Transportation Alternatives, New York City’s leading advocate for walking, biking and public transit. Her experience includes bicycle planning, public space revitalization, placemaking, and community-based planning

3.3 Full Project Timeline Jan 2011

Phase 2

Phase 3

Prototyping and Testing

Phase 4

Nov 2011

Phase 1 Ideation

Design Development

May 2011


Continued ideation from the research phase including development of existing ideas and generation of new ones.

Full size or scale testing to be undertaken to resolve any final issues, with proposed manufacturing techniques used and applied to a final prototype of the design.

Both 2D and 3D ideation to be undertaken with topical research into data that is uncovered to be still needed during this phase but with careful consideration to not limit myself by research that I do.

Proposed manufacturing methods can be full research and understood during this phase to better inform the technical decisions that will go with this phase.

Full cost point analysis to be undertaken and shown to show the end cost to the manufacturer, importer, retailer, and consumer with full company profiles on any companies (offshore on onshore) to be used, with the differences shown for different markets around the world.

Pressing forward with either one of the three concepts presented during the ideation phase. Detail resolution and scale tests will be undertaken to get the design to a level of detail that effective prototyping and testing can be undertaken.

In depth research using a broad spectrum of researching techniques including -Anthropometric and Statistical Analysis -Personal Interviews -Product Testing -Market Analysis -Market Research -Demographic Research This phase will naturally include some ideation of ideas which will be presented at the end of this phase.

Ideation phase will culminate in the presentation of 3 finalised concepts to be developed fully in the details, manufacturing and technical aspects in the next phase.

3.4 Research and Ideation Timeline Jan 2011

May 2011

Phase 3

3 Concept Presentation

Phase 4

Week 15

Phase 2

15 Concept Presentation

Week 11

Phase 1

Research Presentation

Week 8

Research Update

Final presentation of 3 ďŹ nalised concepts showing each individual concept to a level of detail resolution that shows its effectiveness at solving the problems discovered in phase 1.

Week 4

Midway research presentation showing methods used, thier effectiveness, questions they answered or uncovered to be answered, and next steps.

Presentation of 15 complete concepts, complete with brief summary into proposed methods of realisation and their effectiveness at solving the design problem.

Presentation to be in the form of a 1200 word summary, visual presentation and oral explanation.

Each concept must show an innovative solution that solves all design issues with a brief 500-800 summary with each concept showing its proposed effectiveness at solving the uncovered design problems with the current market solutions to low cost urban transportation.

Presentation of research ďŹ ndings in the form of a minimum 2500 written summary using visual aids such as diagrams, graphs, videos, pictures, diaries and any other presentation media that is appropriate. Summary must link back to the research questions and discuss whether these methods were effective in answering these questions and show any new questions that appeared during this phase. Further presentation of 50 ideation concepts undertaken during the research phase with brief explanations on each concept.

3.5 Research Methods

I chose to use a varying array of research methods as I mentioned earlier in this document, as I felt it was important to try to explore as much and learn as much as I could during the research phase to help inform me later in the design process. My personal design process benefits from a broad base of learning during the early phases of the project, narrowing into different areas as I learn about them. This base of knowledge also served me well for the extensive amount of interviewing that I did, as if I didn’t have the knowledge to ask the right questions, I felt I wouldn’t be able to get the right answers.

Having a number of professionals working in various transportation industries act as mentors during this project has helped me immensely as when I encountered problems during my research phase I was able to turn to someone with year of experience for simple and easy explanations.

The following is a chronological list of research methods that I applied from January 2011 until May 2011: Literature Study Absorb information via the reading of relevant scholarly documents and case studies

Activity Analysis List all the tasks, objects, people, interactions involved in transporting people around.

Fly on the Wall Observe & record behaviour within its context, without interference in people’s activities

Shadowing Tag along with people to observe & understand their dayto-day routines, interactions & contexts

Still-Photo Survey Capture pictures of specific objects, activities, etc involved in a certain process

Brief Passer-By Survey Large number of brief surveys during or waiting for the use of public transportation

Broad Spectrum Questionnaire This was aimed to gain a large amount of data from a number of countries and cultures about peoples attitude towards their daily commute or how they travel within urban environments.

Five Whys? Ask ‘why’ questions in response to five consecutive answers

Informance Role play insights or behaviours that you have witnessed or researched during the initial survey phase

Character Profiles Observe real people to develop character profiles to represent archetypes & behaviour, lifestyle details to help inform initial ideation and direct further research

Cognitive Task Analysis List & summarize all of the user’s interaction points involved in a certain process

renderings sourced from

Material and Technology Study Study the materials and technologies used in the studied products or systems

Long-Range Forecasts Scenario write up that describe how social and/or technological trends might influence people

Extreme User Interviews Targeted and in-depth user interviews with the end consumers of the product or system being studied.

Expert User Interviews Targeted user interviews with professionals who deal with large numbers of users or have had non-consumer experience with the product or system.

Market Analysis Study the end products or the systems that are offered to the public in order to assess the spectrum of possibilities covered today and also to spot holes, areas of market flooding or possible market weak-points.

In-Depth Case Study Learn the most possible of a product or system by experiencing, studying and interviewing professionals.

Use and Abuse Study Study how people use and modify current solutions to be better suited to their needs. Then look into how people break, abuse or disregard aspects of current market solutions.

3.5.1 Summary Of Research Methods Below are summaries of each research method I conducted, in the order in which I conducted them. As each research phase ended, I would find the next one being more targeted and specific and although I had to resist narrowing in too early, this broad pool of knowledge I gained early on shaped and helped inform in which direction to go further on and although maybe not directly relatable to my final project, without it I wouldn’t be able to safely and confidently make the decisions I will have to in the developmental phases of the design process. Literature Study This helped me to broaden my knowledge of the ways in which people move around urban areas and began to inform me about the most publicised and widely known issues to look out for when I began to go and observe them. I also researched a number of the public transport systems that surrounded me in my home in San Jose, California.

Activity Analysis This began my phase of observation and allowed me to experience the systems myself and observe users interact with the system. The lists of what the user was required to do to use the system also served well later in the research phase as I could classify and ensure I was observing all phases of the process.

Fly on the Wall Of the early research phases, this one produced the most helpful results, as it was a quick way to see a broad range of users from all social and ethnic background interact with the same system.

Shadowing This phase was a direct result of the last, as I began to observe people, I would ask them questions as to what they were doing and end up following them through their journey to get further analysis of their journey. This phase was concentrated on the Caltrain and BART system in the bay area.

Still-Photo Survey The photo survey part of my research way undertaken during the ‘Fly on the Wall’ and ‘Shadowing’ phases and acted as an easy and quick way to snapshot interesting things I saw so I could recall them later or look into them in further detail.

Brief Passer-By Survey Sitting at light rail stations or bus stops and asking users of these transportation modes quick questions helped immensely as I had to be selective in what questions I asked them in order to get the most from the one or two answers I was able to glean.

Broad Spectrum Questionnaire This survey turned out to be one of the most successful phases of my research, with over 200 participants in my questionnaire I was able to gain a large amount of insight into how different age groups, genders, cultures reacted towards how they would travel across certain distances and what they were annoyed with. Having such a large sample group also allowed me to pick out trends and informed a lot of the targeted surveys I would do later on.

Informance With the results from the initial surveys fresh I was able to test and experience a lot of the trends I was seeing in my test results. With common themes like bad integration of bicycles into public transport systems, I would take a bicycle and take short 20-30 minute train and bus rides to try to gain further insight into the problems I was hearing about.

Character Profiles These character profiles helped define a certain user group that I would be envisaging for the rest of the project. These profiles would be helpful as ‘sieves’ by which I could test the appropriateness of any initial ideation I was doing without thinking too far in depth and losing focus of the research I was meant to be doing.

Cognitive Task Analysis Re-listing these interaction points showed me quickly and easily when compared to the initial lists I created which areas I had become aware of and which I had possibly forgotten or neglected.

Material and Technology Study This section was done out of interest as I began to focus in on the bicycle industry and became curious to know about the choices manufacturers made between the different materials used to make bicycle frames. I also researched a few future materials after talking to some of my users about the future of the industry and what it could have in store for the coming 10-15 years.

Long-Range Forecasts Following on from the materials research, I looked into the ways in which future technological trends may influence the industries I was researching investigating.

Extreme User Interviews Having built a solid base of knowledge, I was able to ask in-depth and targeted questions to get useful answers to my questions. This phase helped ‘acid test’ the knowledge I had gained and gave me strong direction as to where the design phase of the project would take me. During this phase I began to ideate heavily but chose to use a post-it system where I would ignore it once drawn.

Expert User Interviews Having talked to end users, this phase allowed me to talk to people who dealt with large numbers of users by way of retail interaction or committee leadership, this helped refocus my mind on the overall problems as oppose to specific ones.

Market Analysis Having built a knowledge of what people thought, used, interacted with regularly, I began trying to absorb as much of what the industries around me were doing with their marketing and the upcoming and latest trends for their products.

In-Depth Case Study This phase came directly out of my trip to Europe where I experienced a number of different bike share systems in Milan and London and wanted to find out more information once I had returned to California.

Use and Abuse Study At the suggestion of one of my mentors, I went out and studies how people incorrectly used the systems around them, which proved useful and informed me a lot about how people subconsciously want the systems around them to improve.

3.6 User Profile

My user profile features a wide range of people from two primary markets, those who currently riding a bike or using public transport and aren’t happy with it and those who use private transportation in an inefficient and non sustainable manner. The first market is one who isn’t a sports or hobby cyclist and doesn’t require the high end (approx) $1000 machines that the leading cycle companies are selling as ‘commuter’ bicycles. With this high price tag, my user would be put off and doesn’t feel they need a track frame with 24 gears and hydraulic brakes, they simple need something basic and reliable to get to and from work with or without the use of public transport. The second market is someone who currently doesn’t see cycling to work as a viable option and currently uses such methods as a motorcycle, car or other private methods. Living a small (2-4km) distance from the local bus station means they prefer not to walk the distance in the morning and doesn’t feel comfortable riding their bike to a station where they may or may not be able to board the bus in peak hour due to a lack of accommodation for bicycles.

3.7 Character Profiles I have created a series of loose profiles, based on my consumer research,user testing, mindmapping and all other methods used until this point. These profiles will serve me as loose concept guides, and when combined with the mindmapping tools, I will have two jumping points for ideation and concepting, which will take place form this point onwards. The profiles won’t act to eliminate any concepts, but will allow me to focus my efforts of problems and how the relate to the end user. This will create a base of holistic concepts created from the mindmapping, and a series of user centred concepts from the profiles I have created here and the people I have been talking to. Then through the course of the weeks following heavy ideations, ideas, thoughts, and concepts can begin to be brought together to hopefully create concepts that solve the societal issues as well as the issues specific to the end user.


She can go over to her friends house and can get to school Age: 15 Sex: Female Occupation: High school Most common mode of public transportation: Bike (Beach cruiser style bicycle) Why she uses it: Her parents got her it for Christmas to get her to school because they both had to go to work.


He can fix his own bike and it gives him freedom Age: 20 Sex: Male Occupation: Unemployed Most common mode of public transportation: Urban bike (Mountain bike) Why he uses it: Easy and simple, you can ride anywhere. Taught by father to fix bicycles to train him about mechanics, he can easily fix basic problems with his bicycle.


He can easily get to work Age: 40 Sex: Male Occupation: Construction Most common mode of public transportation: Urban bike (Mountain bike) Why he uses it: It’s cheap and doesn’t cost me anything until I need to fix it.

3.8 Current Issues There are a number of current issues surrounding the transportation market as it is today is centred around the problem of a failure for public and private systems to integrate. There are also an number of problems with the bicycling industry with its attitudes towards the emerging market of commuter cyclists. This emerging market of commuter cyclists can be divided into two primary categories, one being those who classify themselves as commuter cyclists and are generally more confident cyclists who are comfortable riding the extra distances and buy over-built bicycles that feature new and expensive technology. These $700$1000 bikes then are required to be locked up outside buildings which causes much stress to the user, who often has to spend over $100 on expensive locks for peace of mind. The second category is one who classifies themselves as urban cyclists and are often more novice cyclists who are new to the sport, or move to a new place where due to factors such as cost, decide to ride a bicycle around their close proximity. These users are often put off by the bikes emerging on the market being sold as commuter bikes due to factors such as high costs, expensive maintenance costs, hidden costs (helmets, locks, jackets, tools, tubes). The second problem which puts a lot of users off commuter cycling or proper maintaining of their product is the interaction with bicycle shops, a place where you are scorned for appearing to not know fully what is going on with your bike or what needs maintaining or fixing on it

3.9 Sustainability With the global awareness of sustainability in design at an all time high and with the human races continued impact needing to be decreased, I want to make my project have as much a positive impact on the environment as possible. Using such guides as the Okala Handbook, sustainable design practices can be addressed through ways like responsible recycling and the usage of environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. According to the Okala handbook, the diagram (left) shows what sustainable design is and outlines it as not effecting the environment, being socially ethical and economically sustained.

I personally believe that in todays market however, that designing sustainable products is not enough. I think with todays awareness of sustainability and sustainable practices, a project must be environmentally friendly to survive but also must be innovative, ergonomic and many other features that make up successful products and systems.

diagrams from the Okala 2007 handbook, available online

4.0 Key Research Findings

This section outlines my key research findings from the most important and influential phases of the initial phase of this project. From observational studies where I learnt to survey a large number of people to look for patterns and problems, to in-depth user and expert interviews where I could ask targeted questions about key problems. The research phase allowed me to take in a large body of knowledge and really helped me focus in on the area in which I wanted to push the rest of the project, as can be seen in the following pages.

4.1 Observational Study Living in San Jose during the first 6 months of this project allowed me access to large, developed and established public transport systems. Being in this area allowed me easy access to view large scale commuter systems like the light rail system in downtown San Jose, which runs to and from the surrounding areas. With the high density areas all around me, the initial observational study was hugely successful as I could easily sit at train stops that I knew during commuting times received large volumes of traffic and could show me how systems and products were designed to cope with these circumstances. With the large amount of people that would be travelling during the peak times of the day, I could watch people from many different age groups and social classes interact all with the same intention, getting to their destination the quickest and with the largest amounts of stress. These observations helped mme a lot as I saw how people parked their bikes on the trains when there were no spaces left in the racks but they wanted to cause the least disturbance to the people around them, and other such insightful and helpful observations. Through watching these people, the next step was to ask them brief questions, as I didn’t want to annoy people by asking them to take part in in-depth surveys, I limited my survey to 5 quick questions, which helped me both characterise them, and get individual responses, some of the results are on the following pages.

4.2 Streetside Survey Short surveys with members of the general public, undertaken in San Jose, California in late January of 2011. Survey was setup to establish the basic numbers of people using what modes of urban transportation and to get their quick reactions and reasoning behind using their chosen method.




Age: 42 Gender: Male Occupation: Construction Do you use your mode of urban transport to get to work?: Yes Why do you utilise your mode of urban transportation: It allows me to travel wherever I want, working at a range of places I don’t have to worry about public transportation timetables. How many times per week do you use your mode of urban transportation?: 3-4 times per day

Age: 19 Gender: Male Occupation: Student Do you use your mode of urban transport to get to work?: Yes (Work + School) Why do you utilise your mode of urban transportation: Easier than walking and it allows me to cover more distance quicker. Also helps than the terrain is relatively flat. How many times per week do you use your mode of urban transportation?:6 times per day

Age: 38 Gender: Male Occupation: Finance Do you use your mode of urban transport to get to work?: No Why do you utilise your mode of urban transportation: Allows me to ride through the city and enjoy the sites, I don’t get to properly look around in a car or bus How many times per week do you use your mode of urban transportation?: 3-4 times per day




Age: 17 Gender: Male Occupation: Student Do you use your mode of urban transport to get to work?: Yes (School) Why do you utilise your mode of urban transportation: I don’t have a car and the bus costs too much How many times per week do you use your mode of urban transportation?:2-3 times per day

Age: 20 Gender: Female Occupation: Student Do you use your mode of urban transport to get to work?: Yes (School) Why do you utilise your mode of urban transportation: Its fun and easy, and doesn’t take up much space. How many times per week do you use your mode of urban transportation?: 4-5 times per day

Age: 50 Gender: Male Occupation: Mechanic Do you use your mode of urban transport to get to work?: No Why do you utilise your mode of urban transportation: Scenic way to ride through downtown on sunny days, I find it relaxing to just ride around for 30 minutes or so. How many times per week do you use your mode of urban transportation?: 3 times per week

User requested no photo be used

User requested no photo be used

User requested no photo be used




Age: 22 Gender: Male Occupation: Electrician Do you use your mode of urban transport to get to work?: Yes Why do you utilise your mode of urban transportation: I can carry my tools in my backpack and can get to work How many times per week do you use your mode of urban transportation?: 3 times per day

Age: 24 Gender: Female Occupation: Student Do you use your mode of urban transport to get to work?: Yes (School) Why do you utilise your mode of urban transportation: I can get from my apartment to class really easily and ride around the neighbourhood to her friends How many times per week do you use your mode of urban transportation?: 12-15 times

Age: 32 Gender: Male Occupation: Accountant Do you use your mode of urban transport to get to work?: Yes, sometimes Why do you utilise your mode of urban transportation: Nice way to get some exercise as I live only 8 blocks away. How many times per week do you use your mode of urban transportation?: 5-6 times per week

Summary Short surveys with targeted questions revealed many interesting views and facts about people using various modes of urban transportation (mainly bicycles) in the San Jose Downtown area. Quick user surveys allowed me to interview passers by in the downtown San Jose area and get their reactions and impressions on the modes of transport the frequent. I focused mainly on bicyclists due to the sheer number in downtown areas and I found them to be the most helpful and willing to answer questions. Bicyclists shared that they were fond of their mode of transportation due to the easy and low cost of its nature, they also liked the scenic nature of it and the light exercise if offers in a flat area such as San Jose.

4.3 Broad Spectrum Questionnaire What age bracket do you fall in to?

0-18 19-25 26-30 31-35 36-40 41-60 50+

What age bracket do you fall in to?

Male Female

full page diagrams available at the end of the report.

What is one thing that annoys you about using your bicycle in urban environments? If you commute to work or school on a bicycle, what daily hazard or annoyance disrupts on interferes with your journey? If you don’t regularly ride, what stops you?

This initial survey I did and kept running for a month provided some interesting results that gave me the opinion of a wide range of people. Of the total 200 participants the primary age group was 18-25 year old’s with the gender heavily male. This male dominance was cause by the fact I was interviewing primarily commuter cyclists who tend to be male. The two text based questions provided the greatest help for informing me of a lot of the current issues with commuter cycling as the showcased results below can demonstrate. Lack of bike lanes, traffic flow slows bikers down Transporting clothing to not being sweaty at work security Potholes Being demolished or stolen Prius drivers. Silent and smugly entitled = crazy drivers. Infrastructure that isn’t designed for biking Hipsters without helmets, brakes, or respect for other road users Not allowed to bring it on the Metra Train during rush hour

bikes in philly get stolen too easily. 1: Flat tire, 2: Wind Remembering all of my gear. Fumes from cars, hills, and inability to see while going down hill with regular seeing glasses on (eyes start to water). The distance to my job. Not much. Being drunk stops me. People cutting me up. Not enough overtaking space. I hate waiting for a car to trip the traffic light, so I run it if I can. I know I shouldn’t. Weather, not enough time to go by bike. NYC drivers & pedestrians are my daily hazards. I prefer to walk because it doesn’t carry the hassle of Having to lock your bike and find a place for it, just feels more free. Cars coming too close when overtaking. Traffic, poor quality roads. The bus is easier to take, and lack of sidewalks/bike paths.

Which of the following categories would you place yourself in? 100


60 No.Of People




Urban cyclist - casual trips around densely populated areas

Commuter cyclist uses a bikle to get to and from work, school, ect.

Casual cyclist - low frequency of trips to get certain places

Sports cyclists - sees cycling as an activity as oppose to purely a mode of transport

With my two main categories of user being commuter and urban cyclists, this survey gave me the opportunity to see a broad spectrum of opinions and preferences for these groups. Although urban cyclists are more casual in their treatment of a bicycle, seeing it as a tool to get from point A to point B, commuter cyclists tend to be more involved in their bike. This reinforces my hypothesis about their being two key markets, with two very different needs that I will need to fulfil for my project to be truly successful. The first market is the urban cyclist, someone who buys a bike because they possibly realise that driving a car or taking the train is a less efficient way of travelling to their destination. The second id a user that classifies themselves as a commuter cyclist and through linking these results to the answers given to the in-depth answers to the questions on the previous page, has stronger views and more scathing views on the cars, buses and other cyclists they encounter on the road. How long do you spend travelling around on a day to day basis? 70 60 50 40 No.Of People

30 20 10 0

0-30 minutes

30 minutes - 1 hour

1 hour - 2 hours

2 hours - 3 hours

3 hours +

The biggest responses for my question about the time spent riding per day (left) show that the majority of people travel less than one hour per day on their bike, using it for the parts of their commute and ride where the train/bus/light rail doesn’t quite reach the whole way to their destination.

Using your bicycle in conjunction with a large array of public and private transportation methods is becoming increasingly popular, with the spectrum of people spread relatively evenly across those who use the bus, train, light rail and rapid transport. With the high number of trips per day and this level of integration with public transport, it is surprising that only the intercity train (such as Caltrain) has truly tried to implement a system whereby a large number of bicyclists can use the service. This attempt at getting a large number of people Per week, how often do you ride a bicycle to use these trains has a 80 large number of problems however, with Caltrain suffering massive backlash 60 due to poor on train bike organisation and under supply of carriages for 40 cyclists to use. No.Of People



2-3 times per day

Once a day

2-3 times per week

Once a week



Do you use your bicycle in conjunction with any other methods of transportation? 60



No.Of People





Train (intercity

Bus and coach and larger scale) Light rail train systems (inner city) and trams

Community Bus

Rapid Transport (Subway, Metro, Underground)



Asking the question below about peoples perception of distance and how they would select their transportation mode helped show peoples willingness to use an eco-friendly mode of moving from one place to another. If proper public transportation systems where put in place where a user could ride their bike the 1-2 miles to the train station, catch a train with a properly functioning bike storage and then ride the 1-2 miles to work from their, people would be more inclined to treat this as a serious option. With stress levels and timing being the two key factors in how people select how they travel, current issues like being ‘bumped’ from trains, long distances to the nearest train station and the inconvenience of carrying clothes or changing items with them need to be solved before bicycling can replace unfavourable methods such as automobiles.

Based on the following travelling distances, which method of transportation would you most likey use? 200

160 Bicycle Motorcycle


Car Bus (Urban Bus) Train (intercity)

No.Of People

Rapid Transport (Metro, Subway, ect)


Plane Bus (intercity)



2 Miles (3.2km) 10 Miles (16km) 100 Miles (160km) 1 Mile (1.6km) 5 Miles (8km) Distance

4.4 Informance Observations Bike Geometries Learning about bike geometries allowed me to begin to understand the intricacies of what makes up different bikes, how you would want to sit when you’re riding somewhere and how this affects the ride. With wheelbase, wheel size and the angles of the seating and head tube, a designer can create very different feelings on the ways in which bikes make their riders feel whilst riding them. The head tube angle being increased, or ‘raked out’ gives a more relaxed feel to the bike, with these styles also increasing the wheel base, and using more a relaxed feeling handlebar style that allows the user to relax, but takes away the speed and stability during tight corners. Placing the handlebars over the front axle gives a more twitchy and responsive riding style, but tend to put more stress on the shoulders and isn’t as relaxed a ride as the ‘beach cruiser’ style.

images sourced form the relevant manufacturers websites

4.4.1 Bike Teardown

Tearing Down A Bike Pulling apart multiple bikes allowed me to explore the ways in which they assembled and find marks showing key manufacturing points and lines. The relative simplicity of this ‘PK Ripper’ frame that provides a classic bmx style ride with larger wheels and geometries so that it can be ridden over longer distances. With the bicycle manufacturers large amount of business done in the aluminium and composite frame markets of road and mountain bikes, the new urban bikes being offered to the user are often built using these frame materials to save in manufacturing costs. There is still however a large market for the classic steel frame bicycle in places like the Netherlands where the long lasting, sturdy and reliable steel frame bike has market share.

Summary With the combination of the ways in which bikes are proportioned, the materials used to make them and the people who ride them being all important, the modern bicycle is an increasingly complex thing. I learnt about riding styles by riding a wide variety of bikes. I looked at their dimensions and this quickly made me appreciate the intricate details that goes into their design. Tearing down a bike frame taught me where to pay attention to these details in frame design and manufacture, and ultimately, how simple a machine they are. Finding weld marks and seeing the shapes in which the composite materials are woven and joined quickly shows you the key stress points of the bike and how the forces will be transferred between the body and the bicycle.

4.5 User Interviews Understand what makes up the modern bicycle. Forever reinvented, what has made the bicycle such a humble and loved form of transportation for centuries? What lessons can be learnt from other forms of cycling that can inform they way to create a bike specifically aimed at urban culture? Using targeted questions that I could now knowledgeably ask from my growing awareness of the bicycle industry, I conducted a series of interviews with

a number of bicycling professionals, commuters and general enthusiasts. The two following user interviews were the two key user interviews I conducted during my research phase, as both subjects gave honest answers and were willing to give feedback on my questions. Both McCord and Doug have continued to be a part of my project from the point of the interviews and I will be consulting them during all phases for honest and clear feedback.

Mccord Age: 24 Occupation: Student Location: San Jose, California Why do you find a bicycle provides you with the best way to get around the city?: “Because I don’t need to travel more than 5 miles regularly a bike is easier and cheaper than a car” What irritates you about having to ride a bicycle to and from school and work?: The safety aspect, I’m always worried about where I leave my bike and I mare sure I lock it properly What security tools do you use to protect your bike?: I use a u-lock and cable system to secure the frame and both wheels because I have a quick release system on them Would it be easy to steal the wheels with this system?: Yes, very easy, a simple lever releases the wheel and it can be taken What do you love about riding a bike in urban environments as oppose to longer distance road rides you participate in?: I like the challenges, weaving in between cars, buses and people

Tell us about your bike: Honestly, I have an overbuilt urban bike, with a old road frame, expensive wheels and quality breaks and gear sets but it allows me to trust my equipment which means I can get to my destination faster and safer because I know what my bike can handle If you had to build an ultimate urban bike, what features would you ensure were included?: Lights and locks I think, I hate having to drag bike locks around and clip and un-clip lights onto my bike all the time, but I refuse to ride at night without lights.

Doug Age: 28 Occupation: Designer Location: Mountain View, California Rides: Rides bike in San Francisco and around Mountain View/San Jose area What is it about riding a bicycle for distances up to 80 miles that is appealing to you?: “The adrenaline rush of the simple movement and reward factor at the end of long bike rides” What do you require from bikes you ride around urban environments, within cities, to friend’s houses, etcetera?: “I need to know that I have reliable ways to stop and tyres that are going to do what I want them to do”. What cycling sport do you most follow or participate in?: I race track bikes in my spare time and follow most of the major cycling events round the world What do you love about track racing?: I love the feeling when I’m riding that I’m racing on the track for myself and (sometimes) my team

What is the most satisfying part of a long ride on the bicycle?: Completing the distance or time, the adrenaline rush What is your favourite part of commuting on a bicycle (when you do)?: Getting there! The safety aspect is big for me How concerned are you with bike security in your house and when you leave your bike in public?: Very, when I go out, I secure my bike using carry multiple locks and cables.

Conclusion Using these two interviews, I looked further into bike safety and security, which highlighted as a major problem with almost all of commuter cyclists. Using expensive locks and cables which cost $80-$100 for a set, people lock their cheap bikes up on the side of the road. In cities like San Francisco local governments put single ‘U’ racks in so people can park their bikes 3-4 at a time. Lights also became a big focus point, after being highlighter in the surveys and reinforced here, which made this a point I had to research and understand. LIghts featured on the more experienced commuter cyclists are portable items that have to be clipped and un-clipped when riding around downtown areas. When they become useful is not only to see the path in front of you, but to be seen by cars, people and other bikes all around you. Overbuilt bikes appear to be about peace of mind trusting the brakes, lights, gearing, wheels and overall that it will get you to where you need to go. Reviewing the data from the interviews shows that the sports cyclists want to trust that their bike will get them there, this instils a sense of pride. This is oppose to someone who is more of an urban cyclist, who doesn’t upkeep their bike to the level of someone more experienced.

4.6 Expert Interviews Soraya Nasirian & Oscar Mulder Owners of My Dutch Bike, a Dutch Bicycle shop located in San Francisco that specialises in importing hand-made dutch urban, transport and cargo bikes. Key questions and answers from an interview conducted 2nd May 2011. H = Hamish (Me) S = Soraya O = Oscar H: What do you think is it about the Dutch made bikes you sell that make them so popular? S: I think it’s the convenience factor, American commuter cyclists are just like the Dutch ones we are used to encountering, they don’t want to be hunched over on a sports machine carrying baggage strapped to custom fitted racks. They want something that is designed for what they are trying to do and that is, getting from point A to point B comfortably with the ability to carry all the stuff they need for the day O: I agree, I know when i’m out riding long distances on the weekend I wouldn’t want to be riding a big Opafiets bike, and similarly when i’m riding across town to work, I don’t need a track bike. H: Why are the big steel frame bikes you sell such a tried and true product? With the market being overcome with aluminium and composite frames, why would a user choose one of your bikes over a lighter and more nimble one? O: Bikes the Omafiets and Opafiets bikes have been successful for a long time in European markets (specifically Dutch) because a lot of the cities are flat. Where I come from (Northern Holland), I remember riding to school as a child and not encountering a single hill

along the way. That’s not to say that these steel frame bicycles cant work in a hilly city like San Francisco, a bike like the Opafiets is a classic because it lasts. I have customers that bought one of these bikes 20 years ago and through some light maintenance on the relatively simple single speed design, it still rides like its new.

images used with permission from MyDutch

H: If you were to describe the ideal bike for a middle class American who rides 10 miles with minimal baggage every day, what would be special about it? S: I think that Americans want something light and easy to ride. There seems to be a huge trend over here for commuters to ride what are virtually race bikes, with 24 gears, hydraulic brakes, tall hunched over frames that really aren’t suited to the environments they are putting them in. O: But these complex bikes just brake more often, I think a true town bike would be simplified, maybe as few as 4 gears even. H: Do you think there is a need for more than one gear? O: Well, in some cities no, but in San Francisco, yes S: I’m happiest riding a single speed with a simple coaster brake, but I know on some of the hills around the city, i’d feel more comfortable with both front and rear brakes.

Conclusion This interview helped me in many ways to understand the appeal of the Opafiets and Omafiets bikes, as I had previously struggled to understand why someone would buy a 20kg steel frame town bicycle. With the simplicity of the design of these bikes it became apparent that markets like Holland, who lead the world for bicycle commuting demanded a simple bicycle that provided comfort, ease of use, ease of maintenance and reliability, all qualities that my survey had shown important for commuters. This interview also highlighted the obsession the bike industry has with filling the ‘commuter’ market with high spec bicycles that provided so much more than the average consumer needs that they feel intimidated with the complex technology and uncomfortable with their inability to ask for help from bicycle repair shops every time something went wrong or needs maintaining.

4.7 Market Analysis As previously mentioned, I have uncovered in my research the lack of focused design intent shown my the major bicycle manufactures towards the commuter market, producing bikes for experienced cyclists who want to ride in urban areas instead of a bike anyone could ride around their neighbourhood on. Big manufactures like Specialized have created models like the Sirrus, with the entry level model starting at $500 US retail and going up to a $2000 carbon framed model. Based around a race geometry with a slightly slacked out head tube angle and lowered seat height, the frame is essentially a relaxed track frame that still forces the user to be crouched over in an uptight position whilst riding. As Ms Nasirian said during my interview with her, the current American urban bicycle seems to want to put the user in a hunched over racing position with an over built race bike that isn’t suited to the morning commute across town. With the step-through frame being a traditionally women’s style bike, a lot of my initial ideas were around making a universal frame, one that doesn’t need to be classified as either male or female. As can be seen when on the Giant Bicycles website, there are three distinct urban frame types, one i the traditional slacked out, relaxed stlye riding frame common in Europe, along with its female step through counterpart and the third is the newly emerging folding bike, designed for space efficiency both when you are and when you aren’t using it

Giant bicycles urban bicycle, male section.

Giant bicycles urban bicycle, female section.

Courtesy of

cost effective

Raleigh Detour Deluxe Bike - $799

suitable urban set-up

Schwinn Coffee 3-Speed - $400

Workcycles Omafiets Womens - $1100

Specialized Sport Low Entry Level - $470

Giant Via 1 Womens - $550

Canondale Hooligan - $900

All images for market analysis retrieved from their manufacturers websites.

Retrovelo Paula - $1949

Gazelle Omafiets - $1259 Surley Big Dummy - $1699

Giant Twist Express Hybrid - $1600

Specialized Sirrus Comp - $940


Specialized Sirrus Pro - $2000

Cannondale Law Enforcement - $1200

Dahon Curve SL - $840

Specialized Crossroads Elite - $550

Raliegh Circa i8 - $580

Giant Sedona - $470

Cannondale Quick 5 Women’s Bike - $499

Surly Pugsley - $1519

Cannondale Bad Boy Solo - $1329

unsuitable urban set-up

A market map showing the options available to a commuter who chooses to buy a bicycle to travel around their local urban environment. All Prices in US Dollars and current as of June 2nd 2011.

Cannondale Quick Carbon - $1700

4.7.1 Market Map

4.7.2 Market Evaluation Looking at the market distribution map on the previous page, it is clear that the large bicycle manufacturers around the world produce primarily two classifications of urban bike, a cheap scaled down track bike, or a suitable but expensive urban bike. Bikes like the Gazelle Omafiets is a well designed urban bike that provides the user with a comfortable ride, stylish design, relaxed seating an bar positions and bike rack. The major downfall of this design is the price-point that it sits on the market, at $1259 US it is a very expensive option for someone who is looking for a basic and reliable commuter bike.

Dahon Curve SL - $840

Gazelle Omafiets - $1259

Cannondale Bad Boy Solo - $1329

The Dahon Curve SL is good example of the emerging market of urban folding bikes, which is targeted at people similar to my target user. But with such a small wheelbase and long head tube, the handling of these style bikes is very hard for new users. These style bikes are also seen as cheap and with a high amount of gearing, crank gear and wheels crammed into the rear half of a basic steel frame, they are often subject to premature wearing and braking. Bikes like the Cannondale Bay Boy represent an attractive design with simplified technology. The Bad Boy frame style however features a low head tube height that is easier for someone wearing a skirt or who is troubled with a high head tube to lift their leg over. Bikes such as these urban bikes marketed by Cannondale are all based on very hunched over geometries and are not comfortable for an easy morning commute across town.

4.8 Case Studies

Although looking at the current retail market for bicycle helped me a lot, I wanted to make sure I understood the growing global trend for urban cycling, Bike Share programs. With new programs being introduced in places like Minneapolis, US and London to built on the original generation of systems such as the famous Velib in Paris, the bike share trend is certainly taking off. In places like Auckland, New Zealand, systems have been implemented by local governments and failed. Run by a company called Nextbike, they closed the Auckland system, stating it had ‘come to a point where we can no longer sustain the business in its current format’, always optimistic, the companies did however say that ‘We are working on a restructured model without such a heavy reliance on advertising. Also with the current change in the cities administration and focus on improving public transport for Auckland we’re looking to the future with optimism.’ (Nextbike site). Through my personal travelling to cities such as London, Milan, Paris and San Francisco in the last 6 months, I was able to experience some of the worlds leading systems, and through a combination of personal experience, brief user interviews and in-depth online research was able to learn a great deal about the systems and how they are run. On the following pages are my research findings from looking into these programs, with my research on each system being focused on the bikes themselves and the systems they were implemented in as it is an important goal of my project not to create a good system and bad bike. If I were to choose to design a bike share system, It would be focus of mine to create a well designed bike primarily, as most of the current problems are centred not around the systems, but the bikes used in them.

4.8.1 Velib Case Study

Vélib’ is a public bike rental system that was implemented within the city of Paris, France in the year 2007. Now sporting over 17,000 bicycles with rental stations every 300 metres throughout the city, the system is not only the largest of its kind in the world, it is also pointed to by other cities as a shining example of how public bike rental systems can succeed. But what problems are inherent in this system? Within a system such as Vélib’ 80% of the bikes introduced have been damaged beyond use or stolen, so why is this seen as such a successful system? Backed by the company JCDeceaux, the system cost over $140 million US dollars to initially implement, with the company responsible for repair, maintenance and upkeep of the Vélib’ fleet. The companies biggest profit margins aren’t gained from the bike rental system though, they come from the 150 billboard they are allowed to erect throughout the city, with figures showing that revenue gained from this advertising is over 3 times what the city gains from the rental system.

Vélib’ History How did the Vélib’ start? Why would such a major city look to a massive overhaul of its transport solution? How did they fund this major investment? Introduced in 2007, the Vélib’ system is a public bike share system throughout Paris and is designed to encourage the public to use bicycles as a mode of transportation and to greatly reduce emissions from oil dependent vehicles. Initial numbers were released at 10,000 bikes with 750 stations throughout the city, with this number growing to 17,000 and 1200 stations in 2011. This vast number of units means that the Vélib’ system is the largest public bike share system in the world. With the racks placed in parking spaces along the street or on the sidewalk, the infrastructure and legislation that needed to be created was a huge effort from the French government and was hard enough without taking into the account the cost of implementing a system similar to this. The system cost $142 million US dollars to introduce, with a deal being struck between local government and the French company JCDecaux. The company won the 10 year contract for the system and was allowed to erect 1,628 billboards throughout the city in exchange for implementing the system and maintaining it during the contracts duration. During the first year of operation, over 3,000 bikes were stolen which was a much larger number than the company anticipated. Much of the theft has been attributed to large numbers of bikes going missing and being shipped to parts of eastern Europe and Northern Africa. The number of stolen bikes has since risen to 8,000 over the 4 years of operation, with over 150 being pulled from the Seine River, a major river running through Paris

How The System Works How Does The General Public Interact With This System? How Has A Simple Interface Been Developed To Create A Universal Understanding? Based around the idea of allowing cheap, easy and environmentally friendly cycling within Paris, the government allows users to use any bike for up to 30 minutes for free. With rates as low as 3 Euros for 90 minutes this system has the potential to offer and easy alternative to busing or using a car in built up urban areas, but has fallen short in its estimation of the public. Credit card numbers need to be used to set up an account within the system, with users getting charged $150 if they do not return the bikes. Systems that are located in areas of the city with altitude will add an extra 15 minutes to the people who cycle them up the hills to get to these stations. Day and week long tickets are available, with the user receiving a receipt allowing them to rent bikes during the day or week period. This system still isn’t properly set up for the commuter market when compared to bus services and shows the founder aimed this system at a more casual market. The membership plans mean that there is a constant charge for being able to use the bikes, with it equalling out to approximately 1 Euro per day, or 29 per month. The company also charges a deposit to gain the membership, pre-charging the 150 Euro fine to the users card and reverting it when they return the bike. Long term members are asked to submit a cheques or direct debit authorisation for the amount, which is valid for one year, and the company promised won’t get wrongly cashed.

Summary The Velib’ system in Paris, France is probably one of the most publicised and widely known bike share system in the world, mostly due to the fact that it is the biggest system that has been implemented. The system has major problems though and one the key pieces of information was discovering the designers intention to try to make bike that the public wouldn’t want to steal. The achieved this by making super heavy frames and plastering the ‘ugly’ with sign-age and advertising. This backfired and of the 17,000 bikes that have been put into the Velib system, 10,000 have been lost, stolen or damaged beyond repair. These large steel bikes are estimated to cost $1400 USD each and the organisers choice to make them heavy and ‘un-wantable’ have clearly backfired to the tune of millions of Euros. The system shows many upsides of bike sharing systems though, with the pure scale of the system forcing the public within Paris to take it seriously and polls show they have grown fond of their bike share system.

4.8.2 Barclays Cycle Hire Case Study Why Is This System Being Touted As One Of The Most Successful Around? What key differences have been make to this system to make it better than the Velib’ system it was based on? How does this system effectively integrate with the city around it? Why have users been so quick to embrace this system? Similar to other bike share systems around the world, the BCH (Barclays Cycle Hire) system was implemented in central London in 2010 and is quickly becoming one of the most successful systems to date. Featuring the same membership systems and 30 minutes free usage as the Velib system it was based on, the BCH benefited from London’s major Boris Johnson’s eagerness to put into effect a widespread and far reaching system quickly. 100 bikes were introduced when the system began, a much higher amount than many other systems, bikes are available across London and stations are spaced up to 400m apart. The local company Barclays put up a 25 million pound down payment in order to secure themselves as key sponsor, meaning their logos were placed on all the bikes and the system adopted their name. The initial cost for the large corporations turns out to be negligeable when the level of exposure such a heavily integrated system such as this obtains.

The Bikes At over 20kg with some seriously sturdy rubber on the wheels they require a lot of effort to pedal up to speed but the Shimano Nexus gearing provides the right sort of ratios for inner city sightseeing; it’s geared quite low so you won’t want to do more than about 20 kmph but the low gear is good for nipping away from the lights or spinning up one of the capital’s hills. The bikes do have a built in kickstand, but as they aren’t supplied with a lock, users rarely leave them unattended and are much more likely to simply check them back into a station rather than leave it in public. Complaints from users I interviewed around the bike stations show that they would dearly love the bike to come with a basket, especially the females as they found it annoying having to carry their bags over their shoulders whilst riding. Another common complaint was the single sided kickstand, as users have adapted to the fact their is no lock included by bringing their own, they mentioned that the single sided kickstand wasn’t enough for such a heavy bike when locking it up in public. The manufacturing and service company state that the bikes are built to be useful for up to 15 years and use this figure to justify the expensive and heavy frame, but as can be seen with similar examples in places such as France, bikes are lucky to last 5. Despite their short comings, the BCH system has proved that if a bike system is integrated with a large number of bikes and when the cycle lanes and safety issues for the users is properly addressed, the public will embrace the system and actively suggest improvements, as oppose to disregard it altogether.

4.8.3 Caltrain Case Study

With services like Caltrain in northern California, there are entire carriages devoted to bicyclists and moving their bikes from places such as San Jose to San Francisco and in between. The biggest problem faced by the use of these carriages is the limited number of bikes able to be transported at any one time, with maximums of 40 and 24 on the two primary types of carriages. With only special train services carrying 2 or more bicycle carriages and the large number of people wanting to use the service, ‘bumping’ or being told to wait for the next train due to full capacity is a common occurrence. If users are able to board Caltrain with their bikes, quite often they are forced to sit on the floor as people who aren’t using the facilities of the bicycle carriage are sitting in the seats dedicated to the riders. As safety is a big issue with bicyclists and getting their bikes stolen is a huge concern they are often hesitant to stray far from their bikes and find seating in the next carriage, meaning they are forced to sit on the floors next to or near their parked bicycles. With ‘bumping’ become the key issue for cyclists trying to get to and from work, a large community of cyclists and advocates are forming to combat Caltrain not allowing them to bring their bicycles on board. Their key issues lie in the fact that often times Caltrain lists 80 bike capacity trains during peak times and only one carriage with the capacity for 36 bikes is available, meaning a large number of people are queuing with the bikes and are late for work.

The second large issue raised by cyclists is the infrastructure at each end of the train journey, Caltrain’s primary station in downtown San Francisco has the capacity to store 170 bikes, a total that 1 year after opening was already over-capacity. More successful systems in cities such as Amsterdam or Japan have the capacity to store approximately 1,000 bikes in inner city parking lots, but these are in places where it is not directly associated with short distance (1/2 - 1 hour) long train rides. Caltrain’s current system of loading bikes into the cars is based around the idea of placing the responsibility on the rider and asking them to print out their own ‘tag’ to place on their bike. This tag shows everyone else where you intend to depart the train so they don’t park your bike in and you cant unload it in time for your stop. This system unfortunately has a lot of flaws in its base preconception of placing so much emphasis on the stacking process and relying on everyone to understand and adhere to the system. A common problem with this current way of doing things is people stacking their bikes in with no regard or no realisation of the tags of the other users and how this relates to their own, creating problems when everyone wants to safely and quickly unload to make their stop.

4.8.4 Trimet Case Study

TriMet is a public transport service run in the Portland metropolitan area of Oregon, USA. The company took over from 5 bus companies in 1969, in the late 80’s added a light rail system and in 2009 added a commuter rail line, meaning that in encompasses a large amount of the transportation service provided to the general public in this area. The company operates 127 light rail cars, 4 commuter railcars and 660 buses spanning 52.6 miles of light rail track and 14.7 miles of commuter rail track. TriMet does however suffer from a lot of problems, as juggling so many different services can cause some areas or lines to be neglected. An issue being raised with the general public is TriMet’s plans to decrease or remove funding from the bus lines in favour of their light rail services, causing it to loose some of the advantages associated with large scale bus operations. A key appeal of TriMet is its pure and widespread integration within the Portland area, connecting to over 10 other local transit systems and intercity rails systems from the surrounding areas. This level of integration from a single organisation is starting to become common in major cities around the world, but few have managed to perfect the balance of resources, funds and development needed to maximise all of the bonuses this system could offer.

TriMet runs into problems within its environment also, as it is subject to Oregon weather conditions and often due to the number of old buses they keep in rotation, snow and the cold causes strife within their fleet. They have taken on the role as one of the leading public transport authorities to embrace technology in their time-tabling and error reporting system, providing up-to-date timetables and real time delay and line notifications. Using their TransitTracker and service alert systems, TriMet provides real time line tracking and error alerts to laptops and even to smart phones using a special smart phone website ( Using this smart phone website, they provide:

- TransitTracker arrival times - Trip Planner - Service Alerts - Route and system maps - Nearby stop look-up and schedules

With their regular updates, commuters can rely on their service alert and transit tracker systems to give them real time updates they can rely on to give them information about their planned trips to work or other places. TriMet also runs a Twitter page with gives users a chance to provide real time updates to other users in the cases where the company itself doesn’t pick up on issues or reported problems.

4.8.5 BikeMi Case Study BikeMi is a small public bike sharing system located in Milan, Italy, launching with 40 stations, it has now increased in size and influence and currently has over 100 stations operating over 1,400 bicycles. The company running the BikeMi program has plans to expand the system to over 250 stations with 5,000 bicycles by the end of 2011, which will place it among the larger bike sharing systems located in major European cities. The designers of the bikes followed suit with other major cities’ systems and designed heavy, big steel framed bikes with the ‘step through’ system that allows for suers with skirts on the easily mount and dismount. With daily subscriptions costing 2.50 Euros and weekly subscriptions costing 6 Euros, the system requires you to go online and sign up for an ccount before approaching the stations and using a bike. As can be seen form the map on the following pages, BikeMi stations are mainly located in areas of Milan that charge heavily for car traffic

(one of the ways the local government is trying to curb the huge congestion concentrated in Milan’s city centre) and provide users a quick easy way to grab a bicycle as long as they have an existing account. Usage of the bikes is free for the first 30 minutes, with charges going up to 2 hours, the maximum time limit for the system. Once the user has an account set up, they have the option of paying online using a credit card, call a toll free telephone number, or using the ATM (Azienda Trasporti Milanesi) point located at the close by metro stations. They will then be texted or emailed a user code which can be inputted at the service stations at the bike stops and unlocks one of the bikes for the users use. Analysis of the BikeMi users shows that the most common user it a 40 year old man who uses the system to commute to and from work in peak hour times (8-9am and 6-7pm). Such is the influence the system is beginning to have is shown in the in the way the people have Milan have begin to develop a ‘bike-addict’ line of clothing designed for people who use the system in the autumn and winter months and are shown posing on scooters and BikeMi bicycles. This system shows how a city can positively embrace a system and with the designers and planners designing the system in alignment with the local public transport system (ATM) which runs the underground metropolitan trains and the local buses. By focusing the key stations around these common bus stations and underground stops, users have at the bike stations at their convenience. This system also fails though when attempting to encourage people who live in the more residential parts of the city and are required to use the regional trains to commute, which don’t feature integration for bicycles at all.

4.9 Use and Abuse Observance With room to take over 40 passengers internally, buses in the San Jose area have been fitted with bike racks on the front to accommodate up to 6 bikes. This highlights the attitude local governments take towards encouraging bicycle commuting, providing small time fixes for people who want to use the bus in conjunction with their bike, rather than create a bus system whereby it is just as easy to use with or without a bike. The caltrain bike carriage below features a backwards stacking system whereby people simple pile their bike against one another until they have to laboriously remove their bike from the pile when they arrive at their stop.

San Jose’s VTA Buses feature bike racks for up to 6 bikes on the front

Caltrain’s bike carriage not during peak hour

Narrow seating and uneven flooring rules things like folding bikes out.

Whilst a lot of the public transport system has adopted methods for travelling with bicycles, few have embraced it to offer commuters a viable option of travelling to and from work. The public bus system offers the racks for bike storage on the front, which can accommodate bicycles for a small portion of their passengers but they fail to truly innovate to allow a large number aboard. Due to this fact, people are forced to ride longer distances home, increasing their travel time. With handles and poled becoming a precious commodity on peak hour buses and trains to allow for their passengers something to stabilise themselves on, this exercise got me thinking about ways buses could be outfitted with a number of standing options for the bus ride, creating extra spaces for bicycles. Handles become a precious commodity in rush hour traffic, giving people who can’t sit down something to lean and support themselves against.

5.0 End User Profile My end user profile I chose not to narrow down to a specific person, age, gender, social or cultural class in an effort to keep a broad scope and address the issues across a wide spectrum of categories. For instance, a 50 year old female would require different things from commuter transportation to a 22 year old male, and by focusing in on the character profiles I created earlier, I can look at my solution and pitch it to all 6, asking myself ‘does it meet the needs of each of these users?’. My focus is on the way a user will interact with my product, and through my research I have looked into the way people interact with their chosen method of urban transportation in order to catch a glimpse into why they chose this particular method.

5.1 End User Scenario I am designing for a largely commuting population, who will use my project primarily twice during the day, to and from work, school or wherever they choose to travel. With my desire to keep the end cost of my product comparatively low in the market of commuter bicycles, I am endeavouring to design a solution that can be used and is desired to be used by a large number of all the social classes.

Usage Scenario 1:

Steve lives in downtown San Francisco and works the off peak hours of 3pm until 1am 3.5 miles across town, due to the hilly nature of the city he lives in, he can easily ride a bicycle, but getting home requires too many hills to be climbed for his ability and energy levels after a long shift. Working as a Janitor in a local school, he needs to carry a small amount of clothing in a duffel bag when he travels to his job.

Working to such a late hour, he is unable to get a bus that takes him all the way home, By designing a commuting appropriate and with the nearest he can travel to his house being 1 mile. He has looked into buying commuter specific product, my user will a bike to cover the journey there and part not feel they need to spend extra money of the way back as his bus passes ar a on the bike other than the initial retail cost constant cost to him, but with the added to get it to a standard where they can costs of adding locks to secure it as his work and lights to safely travel home, he ride to and from their destination, safely, securely and carrying all the items they find can’t afford it. necessary.

Usage Scenario 2:

Shirley is a 40 year old assistant who due to the long hours she works, doesn’t have time to do the exercise during the day that she would like. With her night school course running into the late hours and ending at unpredictable times, she is having a hard time settling into a bus routine and can’t keep up with the full schedule of the three bus routes it takes her to get home. She has been looking at the local intercity underground train system that could potentially take her easily around the city, but with the spread out lines, the walk to and from the stations is unappealing and would mean she wouldn’t be able to make it from her job to her school course quick enough at the end of the day.

Usage Scenario 3:

Jack is a college kid in downtown San Jose, a relatively flat region of California’s Bay Area. Unable to hold down a job during the school term, he relies on loans to pay tuition and living costs but can’t afford to put gas in his car to get around the area to buy supplies for his school and personal life. He has tried to work jobs but due to the fact he lives and goes to school in an overpopulated downtown area the only jobs available are out of the centre of town by a few miles and for him to work a short shift, he would easily spend the money he earns on gas to and from his job.

Conclusion: Developing an urban/commuter bike that is low in cost and is designed to almost eliminate expensive maintenance and running costs, all three scenarios could be met with one product. This product could allow people to easily transport a small amount of essentials for their schooling or job to and from their destination, or via a bus/train system. Not requiring to travel distances longer than 4-5 miles means a bike can be designed to be comfortable also, doing away with the common commuting bike geometry of a very ‘hunched’ over and racing style bicycle. Although, designing a bike around a similar style to those common in the Netherlands would be a mistake, with the flat ground their being suitable for their needs, but not those of someone living in cities.

5.2 End User Experience Using a map of San Francisco, a city where I did a lot of my research phase, I created a map showing the distance ranges for my final product or system. From the centre mark (‘A’), my product will allow the end user to easily a regularly navigate within the 2 mile (3.2km) circle possible to and from work or school on a daily basis. The 4 mile circle represents longer trips made on a less frequent basis and with less luggage or items they are carrying with them. The reason I made this distinction was due to the results on my broad spectrum survey, where people showed they would be willing to travel shorter distances more regularly on a bicycle, but through interviews and observation, it is clear that if faced with a longer journey on a daily basis, people will more likely opt for a powered solution.

Outside of these two circles, I will design my product to be integrable into public transport solutions, allowing easy travel outside of the 4 mile radius, where a bus or train may allow the user to result in being 1-2 miles form their end destination, using their bicycle to travel the last distance.

map courtesy of

6.0 Design Schematics User Experience

Universal Intuitive Hassle-free Not imposing Reliable

Technology Understandable Appropriate Durable Fixable

Sustainable Appropriate materials and practices Long lasting Maintained and looked after Serves the user a long time

Design Points Simple Functional Elegant Fun Enjoyable Unique

Place Of Use Urban environments Metropolitan environments Ride to and from users workplace Ride to and from users school/college Use for close range social visits and travelling areas where the public system doesn’t reach

The user experience for my product will be one of ease and simplicity, with my main goals to be to be design a product that people can and want to use.

High-tech technology will be kept to a minimum during this product because of the driving influence that overall cost will have, with the over-use of cutting edge technology likely to create an expensive and useless end product Sustainability remains a important factor that I believe needs to be implemented in everything we do. It is important however to not make this the driving factor for the project, as I feel that a product should be sustainable but also meet the other criteria I am specifying. My design philosophy is to keep things simple and my end solution for this project will be a simple and functional design. Through this quest for simplicity, things like elegance, uniqueness and user enjoyment will all be brought in and harmonised with the overall product.

My place of use is broad, but the focus of the area that will directly influence the decisions i make remains urban and metropolitan areas.

6.1 Schematic Design Map

User Experience



Key Design Points

Place Of Use images sourced from and

7.0 Conclusion Research Conclusion My research has shown that the most truly effective solution for the current market problems would be to develop a low cost and thought-out urban/commuter bicycle that addresses the large amount of issues that I have uncovered.

Individuality and Personalization Developing a mass market solution that people are proud of and want to own would be to adopt the same philosophy that has been so successfully applied to the current leader of commuter transport solutions, the automobile. By looking at ways in which the car has been successful, primarily by allowing people freedom and the ability to customise it to suit themselves, a product or system can be implemented to hopefully have the same success.

Freedom and Reliability Offering my user group a reliable, maintainable but ultimately long lasting design will allow them personal freedom within (approx) a 4 mile (6km) area of their location, but with a design that i able to be integrated into public transport solutions or easily used in conjunction with a car, the product becomes infinitely useful in someone’s life. With the bicycle being a universal product, my solution can offer someone of any age, and social group or any culture the same freedom with the ability to maintain and fix problems on their own.

Reducing Cost Within the bounds of designing a universal product that people of all ages can use comes inevitable cost restrictions to allow people of all social classes to be able to purchase it. Not only is the initial cost important, but I must also factor in the running costs over a 5-15 year period, ensuring i’m not building a cheap product that will either fail or cost large sums of money to keep operational.

7.1 Next Steps

Ideation Using each section as a base for ideation, I will create a large number of broad spectrum concepts and ideas in an effort to solve every problem that I have encountered, this will help me later in the brief draw back to ideas that may or may not have relevance to my final specific direction, but will help me take a step back and view the problem holistically. This large base of concepts will also help me if I need a push or inspiration, as they will represent the body of research work I have done.

Specific Research With this initial base of ideation I will inevitably need to look further into specific issues that I haven’t had the knowledge to or haven’t known I would need to look into and understand. This research will take the form of informal interviews around concept pitches or online feedback from the posting of my work and will help me get feedback from people around my ideas as I get the feedback. From these feedback sessions I will likely look further into issues or points raised in an effort to gain the maximum insight into these issues as I believe that in order to design a thoughtful solution to a problem you need to not only understand the issues creating it, but also the context it exists within.

8.0 Full Charts

What age bracket do you fall in to?








Full sized charts for the questionnaire featured on pages 36-39

What age bracket do you fall in to?



Full sized charts for the questionnaire featured on pages 36-39

Senior Project Research Report  

My full research report from my final yer graduation project at Massey University, Auckland

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