Category Archives: Mobility

Migliorare i comportamenti dei passeggeri del trasporto pubblico con la nudge theory

Nell’interessante articolo The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations si parla delle tecniche adottate dalla West Japan Railways per limitare i comportamenti scorretti dei passeggeri e per diminuire i suicidi utilizzando la nudge theory di Richard Thaler.

La famosa campagna che trasformava le scale in pianoforte.

Con 13 miliardi di viaggi all’anno il sistema ferroviario giapponese è famoso sia per la puntualità dei suoi treni, sia per l’affollamento e la frenesia delle sue stazioni. Come tutti sanno, o dovrebbero sapere, non sempre la puntualità del trasporto pubblico dipende solamente dalle infrastrutture, i mezzi o la pianificazione. Molto spesso infatti il comportamento dei passeggeri e degli altri attori della mobilità urbana influenzano l’efficienza del trasporto pubblico in maniera molto rilevante e forse troppo poco conosciuta.

L’approccio comportamentalista della nudge theory afferma che con dei “rinforzi” o letteralmente “colpetti”, “gomitate”, “spintarelle”, è possibile condizionare i comportamenti degli esseri umani in maniera subliminale. Gli esempi sono molti e vanno dagli adesivi sul pavimento che aumentato la capacità delle stazioni più affollate, ai pulsanti con su scritto “compra ora” che troviamo sui post dei nostri social network preferiti. Si, diciamo che in alcuni contesti il limite tra la pubblicità e la psicologia comportamentale è molto labile, ma tornando a parlare delle soluzioni nudge adottate in Giappone, la cosa che ho trovato più interessante è il loro approccio umanistico piuttosto che manipolatorio teso a migliorare lo stato d’animo dei passeggeri e non a correggerne il comportamento.

Trovo quindi geniale la sostituzione dell’avviso di partenza dei treni, l’angosciante sirena che tutti conosciamo, con una piacevole melodia che fa da colonna sonora ai secondi precedenti la partenza dei mezzi. Questi brevi jingle sono stati composti appositamente per mitigare il senso di urgenza dei passeggeri che si approssimano a un treno in partenza e che spesso, accalcandosi o addirittura lanciandosi sulle porte di entrata, causano ritardi e guasti ai mezzi. Un altro utile effetto delle melodie è stato inoltre quello di dare una tempististica standard per la partenza del treno consentendo agli utenti che sentono le note finali della musica di effettuare il loro percorso con calma.

Di seguito un video che aggrega tutti i jingle dal classico sapore manga che sicuremante qui da noi non sarebbero molto apprezzati.

Altra strategia apparentemente banale è quella dedicata al contenimento dei suicidi tramite l’installazione di lampade a led di colore blu agli estremi delle banchine dei treni. Secondo alcuni studi infatti il colore blu ha un effetto calmante, ed anche se per molti di noi questa può rappresentare poco più di una nozione di nuro-marketing, nella nazione con il più alto tasso di suicidi dei paesi sviluppati ha avuto effetti miracolosi. Nelle stazioni dotate delle lampade blu in Giappone hanno inatti misurato una diminuzione del tasso dei suicidi dell’84%.

Concludendo e contestualizzando, credo che la nudge theory nel nostro paese possa essere utilizzata proficuamente trovando però il modo di adattarla alle caratteristiche culturali nazionali che sono molto diverse da quelle giapponesi. Avere però la coscienza che per aumentare l’efficienza delle nostre infrastrutture e dei nostri servizi in alcuni casi potrebbe bastare qualche adesivo o avviso sonoro, rende le nostre sfide professionali più facili da affrontare.

I 10 principi per la mobilità condivisa e la vivibilità delle città

Durante i miei approfondimenti sul tema della mobilità condivisa ho trovato questi dieci principi che ho deciso di tradurre perché trovo si tratti di una sintesi interessante e un fonte di ispirazione per tutti coloro i quali lavorano nel settore del trasporto e dell’urbanistica.

Sul sito Shared Mobility Principles potete trovare gli originali.

  1. Pianifichiamo insieme le nostre città e la loro mobilità. Il modo in cui le città sono costruite determina il bisogno di mobilità e come questo può essere soddisfatto. La regolamentazione del design urbano e degli spazi pubblici, delle aree edificabili, dei parcheggi e delle altre attività sul territorio dovrebbe spingere verso città compatte, accessibili, vivibili e sostenibili.
  2. Diamo priorità alle persone e non ai veicoli. La mobilità delle persone e non dei veicoli dovrebbe essere il centro della pianificazione del trasporto e delle decisioni importanti. Le città dovrebbero dare priorità ai pedoni, ai ciclisti, al trasporto pubblico e ad altre forme di mobilità condivisa con tutte le loro possibili interconnessioni. Le città dovrebbero scoraggiare l’uso dell’auto, dei taxi con un solo passeggero e di altri veicoli di grandi dimensioni che trasportano una sola persona.
  3. Supportiamo l’uso condiviso ed efficiente dei veicoli, delle corsie e del territorio. La pianificazione del trasporto e dell’uso della territorio dovrebbero minimizzare lo spazio dedicato a strade e parcheggi pro-capite e massimizzare l’utilizzo di tutti i veicoli in circolazione. Scoraggiamo la costruzione di mezzi e infrastrutture complesse e di grandi dimensioni oltre che l’eccesso di parcheggi.
  4. Coinvogliamo gli stakeholder. Con la transizione dai veicoli condivisi a quelli a zero emissioni e poi a quelli autonomi, residenti, lavoratori, attività commerciali e tutti gli altri stakeholder potrebbero avere degli impatti diretti sulle loro vite, sui loro investimenti e sul loro sostentamento. Dobbiamo impegnarci per coinvolgerli e supportarli durante questo cambiamento.
  5. Promuoviamo l’equità. L’accesso fisico, economico e digitale alla mobilità condivisa è un bene comune e va progettato con cura per assicurarne l’utilizzo da parte di cittadini di qualsiasi età, genere, reddito e abilità.
  6. Guidiamo la transizione verso le emissioni zero e l’energia rinnovabile. Il trasporto pubblico e le flotte di veicoli destinati all’utilizzo condiviso accelereranno il passaggio ai mezzi a zero emissioni. I veicoli elettrici dovrebbero usare energia rinnovabile per raccogliere i benefici maggiori per il clima e la qualità dell’aria.
  7. Promuoviamo una tariffazione corretta per tutte le modalità di trasporto. Ogni veicolo e modalità di trasporto dovrebbe pagare una tariffa corretta per l’utilizzo dello spazio in strada, l’inquinamento e il traffico che provoca. Una suddivisione corretta degli introiti potrebbe gestire i costi operativi, sociali e la manutenzione.
  8. Puntiamo al benessere pubblico tramite gli open data. L’infrastruttura dei dati della mobilità condivisa deve consentire l’interoperabilità, la compmetizione e l’innovazione proteggendo contemporaneamente la sicurezza e la privacy della rete wireless.
  9. Lavoriamo per l’integrazione e i livelli di servizio. Tutti i servizi di mobilità dovrebbero essere integrati e accuratamente pianificati tra opratori, località e modalità. Viaggi senza interruzioni dovrebbero essere resi possibili tramite connessioni fisiche, pagamenti interoperabili e informazioni integrate. Ogni opportunità di migliorare la connessione a reti wireless di persone e veicoli deve essere colta.
  10. Siamo convinti che i veicoli autonomi in aree densamente urbanizzate dovrebbero essere gestiti solamente da flotte condivise. A causa del potenziale trasformativo dei veicoli autonomi è necessario che questi facciano parte di flotte condivise, ben regolate e a zero emissioni. Le flotte condivise sono accessibili da chiunque, massimizzano i benefici sulla sicurezza e le emmissioni, e assicurano inoltre che la manutenzione e gli aggiornamenti software siano fatti da professionisti. Le flotte esaudiscono così la promessa di ridurre i veicoli, i parcheggi e il traffico coerentemente con i trend di riduzione delle auto nelle aree densamente urbanizzate.

I principi sono stati sono stati condivisi per la prima volta all’Ecomobility Festival di Kaohsiung (Taiwan).

How ​Google wants monetize self-driving cars like it already monetizes Internet

Google has started its self-driving project in 2009 and in 2016 it funded a completely new company called Waymo. Google today is one of the first company that put on the road level 4 autonomous vehicles and that says to have driven 3.5 million of autonomous kilometers in public roads.

In the autonomous vehicles arena there are many other interesting competitors like Bosch, Nvidia, Apple, Tesla and Navya that opened the orders for its Autonom Cab. We can’t even forget all the other traditional automakers like Ford, GM, Toyota, Honda and Daimler that are working on autonomous cars as the only future possible for their business. So, even if the competition is really high, for me Google will dominate self-driving market like it is dominating Internet but let me explain how starting from a schematisation of what Google did for the web.

As you can see Google created an ecosystem based on technologies, services, contents and advertising more or less​ in the same ​way it is​ doing with its mobility company WaymoWaymo indeed created its own technology that is supposed to be designed “just” to drive autonomously around the city like Gmail was designed just for sending emails, Google Search just for indexing the web and YouTube just for sharing videos.

Waymo has a proprietary combination of self-driving hardware and software that besides going alone around the city, I’m sure that will distribute personalized and localized advertising for passengers and pedestrians installing external displays. In the near future Google will sell targetized advertising aggregating data from our Android account, our web/video history, our interests, our purchases and lastly our daily commuting and the places we live!

In this article about its hardware, Waymo writes the following:

“The detail we capture with our custom LiDAR is so high that not only can we detect pedestrians all around us, but we can tell which direction they’re facing.”

This means that Waymo’s cars can count the “views” exactly like AdWords, AdSense and Google Analytics do on the web.
From the advertisers point of view this targeting option is absolutely incredible and it opens to the most effective and distributed local/real-time marketing​ of the digital era but is not enough. The neutrality of the Waymo’s platform means that all the traditional automakers will have the opportunity to deploy the bigG self-driving technology paying for the full package, or paying a fee and letting Google use their data and their space for advertising.  If this sounds disturbing, well, if you used at least one Google product Android included, you are already in the system!

What could be defined the Google’s Digital business model will give to Waymo two solid revenue sources that will make affordable and viral its technology like happened with Android, AdSense, Adword, Analytics, Maps, Office Suites, Webmasters Tools, Wallet and yes, even YouTube.

The Waymo’s integration with other Google services will be amazing and will make taking a ride as easy as searching for a website or zooming a map. Privacy will have to be taken really seriously but we all see in the future how the market winner will manage this issue.

In the meanwhile I’ll continue to read and design, so if you liked this post, share it and come back on my site.

Tesla Model 3 agile car development framework

When I wrote about the Tesla Model 3 I focused on design , infotainment system and its pre-order success. Today indeed I write about the production approach that, reading the recent news about skipping the beta testing, is going to be assimilated to the agile software development framework.

In the last days I read many articles about the Model 3 pre-production beta testing skipping. This news was so curious that I needed to retrieve the source, so link after link I landed on the Anton Wahlman articles on Seeking Alpha “The Secret Tesla Investor Call To Which You Were Not Invited” and “Tesla Selling Model 3 Test Cars: Accounting Questions“. Considering that at the moment none knows how these “test cars” will be sold, which quality level they will have and what kind of refinement will be done by the testers/customers, I’ll focus on what I define the Tesla’s agile car development framework.

First, what does agile software development is? Wikipedia says:

Agile software development describes a set of principles for software development under which requirements and solutions evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing cross-functional teams. It advocates adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change.

For understanding how this applies to Tesla and Model 3, you don’t need to be a Software Engineer or a Digital Product Manager like me. Read just the words that I put in bold and then think how normal is buying a videogame or a smartphone and immediately update it online. Is it possible for a Tesla? The answer is yes, but why?

Tesla isn’t a traditional carmaker, not only for the charismatic presence of Elon Musk and not only because its investors are continuing putting money in. Tesla actually is the unique car producer that together with a car produces a software Operative System that, thanks to the car’s hardware, can manage remotely things that any other carmaker couldn’t control neither at its official assistance network. The most impressive Tesla OS back-end updates are: the battery capacity, the engine power and the self-driving functions.

Whatch this overview video where the deep hardware and software integration is demonstrated.

Reading the Tesla OS official page is easy to understand that the Musk’s car are disrupting the automotive industry because they shifted the core of their products from mechanics to software development. It doesn’t mean that the Teslas hardware (chassis, shocks, body, glasses etc) aren’t good enough the other carmakers or that they didn’t need the same R&D and pre-production tests. What Musk said is that the knowledge-base that they have accumulated from the development of the Model S and Model X will give them the opportunity to jump directly to the production lines skipping the beta test and leaving the “final testing” to the first users (read this Wahlman article for in-depth analysis).

Skipping the beta testing for a traditional car-maker is a sort of suicide, but if you are Tesla it is the first application of its agile car development framework approach. The Tesla’s cars are really different from the other cars. Its engines, chassis, interiors and all the other components are a way simpler from the other cars so, once tested and standardized, they don’t need to be tested again for all the models. I suppose that the electric engines and the batteries can be scaled in a easiest way than the combustion engines, and that the chassis architectures simpler and less stressed than traditional cars. Moreover the Tesla Model 3 will be really more simple than the Model S like this official press release states and the dashboard (absence!) suggests.

Above this, for sure Tesla has other three big advantages. The first one is the big amount of real usage data that users need to share with the company for having the OS updates; the second is the capacity to absorb a lot of physical/software recall/updates thank to its low volume production, its dealers network and its over the air OS updates; the third is the customers base that is composed by engaged and motivated fans that are healthy, techies, early-adopters, green contingent and sports car lovers (read “Elon Musk and the cult of Tesla” by Hope Reese).

So the Model 3 beta test skipping shouldn’t be interpreted like a dangerous move for accelerating the mass production and keeping the investors happy (during the investors call Musk admitted a delay in the mass production plan). It is more like an iteration of a product with the most important hardware parts already tested, while the easily replaceable components and the less critical front-end functions are still in development.
To be simple. Tesla is like Facebook launching its new app. The core is always the same but the design improves fast and in an iterative way. For this reaason Tesla presented the Model 3 as the next company model, not as a concept car.

Tesla has commoditized the cars hardware focusing on user experience, green technology, autonomous driving, products distribution and customers engagement.

That’s agile, but it is even a strategic move for conquering the electric vehicle supremacy and restarting, in 5 or 7 years, the traditional research and the tests for a real new product.

Photo credits: MatrixSoft, BGR, Carscoops.

The led headlight innovation by Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan

Looking at the recent Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan, I was impressed by the led headlamps colour. At first I thought that it was only a show car like other concept at the Auto Shanghai Motor Show, but then its design was so evolutive that I understood that Daimler was introducing and testing a relevant design innovation.

The headlights are one of the most important part of the car’s design. Since when led technology was incorporated in headlights introducing the “day-light” concept, I was pretty impressed by the light signatures that the automotive companies were creating. Today any modern car in any advanced market could be sold without day-light led in the headlights, but even if the lighting market has a multitude of technologies, what puts in common all the solutions is the color. All led lights are white. No exception. No creativity. No innovation.

I think that this decision is obvious because the “white ice” color is the most visible, but considering that leds today have more a design function than a functional function is time to innovate.

The Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan indeed isn’t just a concept car: it is a beautiful led headlights innovation test that will change all the automotive industry. I’m pretty happy that finally an automotive company disrupted the evolutive lighting design, bringing a new concept in one of the most visible design part of their car. It is one of the more interesting “ready to production” exterior design innovation that I’ve seen in the last two years and the fact that a luxury company like Mercedes-Benz launched a project like this, make me really confident about the creative future for the cars led lights design.

Following what Merceded-Benz writes on its website talking about the core innovation of the Concept A Sedan:

Guideline: “Stimulating Contrast”.

The headlamps with their eyebrows as a typical feature of the brand as well as the striking grid structure on the inside guarantee a confident look – and a simultaneously high recognition value. The structural sculpture that has been broken down in detail represents a technically based counterpole to the sensual exterior – “stimulating contrast” is one of the six guiding principles of Mercedes-Benz design. The grid structure in the lamps has been coated with a UV paint and it is exposed to ultraviolet light. As a result, the headlamps “glow” in different colours, depending on the light medium – the daytime running lamps, for instance, are white

In my memory, recently only Suzuki and Chevrolet put colors in the headlights, but not using the led technology. Instead they just put some coloured plastics inside the headlights giving to the car a really differentiating design that indeed is helping the commercial succes of the Suzuki Vitara and of the Chevrolet Onix.

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The biggest problem of the level 3 self-driving cars are the drivers

I’m following the evolution of the self-driving technologies with a lot of interest. Many automotive companies say that by 2020/2022 they will commercialize autonomous cars that will reach the level 4 or 5 of the SAE International Automated Driving standards.
Below the table that is commonly adopted by all the automotive industry.

Download the pdf here.

Wired points the level 3 human problem in a very clear way: humans are not capable to maintain their attention if they are not interested or required to. For simplifying, a crash in self-driving mode cannot be avoided thanks to the intervention of the driver that in the meanwhile could be reading a newspaper or watching a video. Humans are just too slow and in that case even too distracted for recognizing the risk and avoiding a crush.

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Self-driving bus service models and passengers User Experience

In the last months automotive world is talking a lot about autonomous and self-driving vehicles both for private and public transportation. During my day researches one day I found the exciting call for collaboration for Olli, the self-driving vehicle produced by Local Motors.

Designing the autonomous bus user experience is a complex task: for first because self-driving buses will serve the traditional public transportation diversified and multi-age target; second because without the driver and, in some cases, without a fixed route, passengers will have some new functional and informational needs.

The first part of my project started with a Service Design session focused on what kind of transportation services a self-driving bus can serve.

Personal on-demand shuttle

It’s like a Taxi/Uber, but less exclusive and more spacious. It brings one or more people from A to B. It can be reserved days in advance and can make various stops during a single dedicated service. The served area is restricted.

Shared on-demand shuttle

It’s like public transport service except for the fact that passengers can add a personalized stop to the route within the bus pertaining area. The route is dynamically optimized depending on users destinations and pick-up calls. The high level of complexity makes this service ideal for closed areas like small districts, big companies, entertainment parks etc.

Public Transport

It’s exactly the same public transport service as we know it.

Delivery service 

It’s like sending objects using a shipping company, but instead of giving the package to a human, users will schedule the shipment using an app or a dedicated device in the bus, and then they store the package in a secured housing inside the vehicle. The recipient will track the shipment in real-time and will be alerted when the bus is at the delivery point (or in front of his door). This service can be added to the “Shared on-demand shuttle” one, or it can be configured as an automated delivery service with customized buses and dedicated physical hubs.
This delivery service model is useful for companies that need to transport small parts within a relatively big space, or in modern cities creating a sort of fully automated shipping/delivery hubs for connecting wholesale shops and retails stores.

After this first Service Design session, I started a User Centered Analysis focused on the self-driving bus passengers needs. For designing a real accessible service, I defined only “analogue” needs excluding all the information/functions that a smartphone app could have. What you read is what my grandmother or a manager with a dead smartphone could need for using an autonomous bus.

What self-driving bus passengers need outside the bus

– Passengers need a purchase and reservation system that should be both digital (app), physical (street’s stops signs) and gestural (raising the hand for asking to catch the bus).

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Tesla Model 3 design and market success

Internet has already posted a lot about the new Tesla Model 3. I want to say something since the launch’s day, but first to start writing down this post, I read dozens of articles and their comments for understanding exactly what happened in the automotive industry and what kind of innovation is really bringing the Model 3.

Why Model 3 is a design success?

Tesla built an incredible brand. Tesla is the youngest automotive company that consumers remember like the older and biggest ones like Toyota, Wolkswagen, Nissan, BMW or Daimler. But unlike them, Tesla made the miracle of giving a desirability aura to electric vehicles and it did it not only making fast, efficient and advanced vehicles, but even having the courage to revolutionize the design of its (future) best-selling model.

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What kind of car Generation Z will buy?

A research conducted by Cox Automotive for two of the biggest car shopping and research websites in the US, Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, describes the purchasing intention of the Generation Z.

Generation Z is composed by young that are actually between 12 and 17 years old. For the automotive industry they are evaluated 3.2 trillion of dollars by 2020, so it’s really interesting to understand what they will look into their future cars.

The most important insights that I read are:

  • 92% wants to own a car
  • they don’t care a lot about style and design
  • they remind some old-fashioned brands like Ford, Chevrolet and Honda for their solidity
  • they care more about saving money (in the purchase and running costs) than in saving the environment
  • they care more about safety than infotainment
  • they’d like to have autonomous vehicles for increasing security, but they don’t trust in that technology at all
  • they’ll buy a car in a car dealer, not online

Looking with attention the slide where the generations are described, I found some new interpretative keys of the Gen Z’s purchase intentions.

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Drivin’ – Car Pooling and Neighbourhood social platform

Drivin‘ is a Car Pooling and Neighbourhood social platform that I designed almost three years ago for sharing car’s rides with people that have similar transportation needs, and for creating a trusted network for empowering the local sharing economy.

I presented the project many times to many developers and Startup events but as usual, being just an idea, nobody cared about it. Actually I abandoned the desire of developing the service because the concept was realized by many many other startups, plus some big companies like Lyft with its Lift Lyne. I sincerely don’t know if these apps are having the success that a service like this should merit. The Instant Car Pooling (or ride sharing) is the real alternative to the private car and to the public transportation but the security issues, the business model and the critical mass needed for creating a real instant service are really big challenges.

By the way, I’m proud that a 3 years old project is still actual and has a lot of potential. All the world’s Transportation Authorities together with the car manufacturer (and Google and Apple) are looking forward for creating the mobility pattern of the future. Not only because of the pollution or the metropolitan congestion, but because cities and citizens have changed their concept of mobility. Because thank to the social networks we have lost anonymity and we trust more one to each other (we know that we are monitored). Because we don’t like to lose time and money for daily commutes. Because we trust that technology could do things that we don’t like to do.

Following the slides of the Drivin’ project that I posted on Slideshare. On YouTube the pitch that I did on May 2013.

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