txt bus: Wait Time Information On Demand

Bus Sign image with instructions

Instructional sign to be hung at bus stops

Skills Used

  • Literature Reviews
  • Subject Matter Expert Interviews
  • User Interviews
  • Iterative Design
  • Paper Prototyping
  • User Testing


This project was done to submit to the CHI 2007 Student Design Competition. The directive for the project was to create a design that will encourage the use of public transportation.

We submitted this project in January of 2007 and will find out whether or not we made it to the next round of the competition in mid-February of 2007.

UPDATE: We were one of 12 teams (out of 54 submissions) accepted to the competition. We will be presenting a poster of our work for the next round of competition at CHI on Monday, April 30 at 18:30 - 21:30.

What we did

We began this project by interviewing subject matter experts and performing literature reviews as well as talking to public transportation users and non-users. From this research, we found that one of the strongest detriments to the use of public transportation is not knowing what the wait time will be.

To solve this problem, we developed a text messaging system that would work in conjunction with the Ann Arbor Transit Authority's (AATA) GPS data to bring information on the bus status to users. Paper prototyping and iterative design were used to develop a bus stop sign that would instruct riders on how to use the system. Additionally, we tested many versions of text messages to decide what the important content was as well as how it should be displayed. User testing and interview feedback indicate that this system would be well received and remove a significant pain point that causes potential users of public transit to choose alternative forms of transportation. I personally contributed significantly to the user testing in this project.

Group Members

  • C. Collins
  • M. Scholl
  • R. Thompson