Inclusive future mobility

To make future mobility inclusive and accessible automotive practitioners and researchers need to understand the fundamentals of universal design. People from diverse backgrounds and levels of capability should be included in the design processes of future mobility services. That’s the conclusion of a group of automotive researchers and they’ve come up with a framework to help.

A mobile phone is lying flat with a pop up cityscape rising out of it. Inclusive future mobility.

The framework helps designers to think of essential design dimensions for inclusive design. There are possible trade-offs, synergies/new options, or other impacts that a decision for a particular design option has. Using a fictional case study they showcase the design process.

The design framework serves as a tool for automotive practitioners and researchers for communication, ideation, or reflection. Following the universal design process the researchers explain how they created the framework and then how to use it. The framework is built on previous work, and the mobility experiences of experts that work in inclusive facilities.

Case study using the framework

The authors advise that sticking to the standard principles of universal design could result in overly complex processes and products. However, thinking about potential users and their abilities increases the chance of identifying synergies. That is, finding solutions that suit the wider population as well as “non-average” users.

Technology will be a major influence on future mobility and connections with web interfaces will form part of the design solutions. The authors take readers through a step by step process. Key sections of the framework cover:

  • The users’ needs and capabilities
  • The journey’s context
  • What does the transportation service look like?
  • How do people interact with the service?
  • Training for the journey.

The application of the framework is based on fictional designers, not mobility users. This is very useful for designers new to the universal design concept. By using two designers in the case study scenario, they discuss the pros and cons of each method and idea.

The title of the paper is, An Emergent Design Framework for Accessible and Inclusive Future Mobility. For non-tech people the last part is most useful. For technical people the paper speaks to many aspects of automotive design.

From the abstract

Future mobility will be highly automated, multimodal, and ubiquitous and thus have the potential to address a broader range of users. Yet non-average users are often underrepresented or simply not thought of in design processes of vehicles and mobility services. this leads to exclusion from standard transportation.

Consequently, it is crucial for designers of such vehicles and services to consider the needs of non-average users from the begining. In this paper, we present a design framework that helps designers take the perspective and thinking of the needs of non-average users.

We present a set of exemplary applications from the literature and interviews and show how they fit into the framework, indicating room for further developments. We demonstrate how the framework supports the universal design approach in a fictional design process.

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