Design for an Aging Population

Trygve Faste, University of Oregon



Older public transportation users have limitations with vision, hearing and mobility in greater frequency and magnitude than the general population of public transportation users. In the format of an advanced level product design studio course, 15 students will conduct primary and secondary research on contemporary public transportation issues and precedents, and design products and product services that promote accessible public transportation for customers with vision, hearing and mobility impairments. To compliment the written contemporary research on usability issues in public transportation system design, students will conduct individual primary use-studies of public transportation riders over the age of 60. They will have individual interviews, perform ride-alongs, and create 360 daily life-scenarios for these travelers. They will focus their research on problems exacerbated by vision, hearing and mobility impairments. They will then design products and product services to assist and enhance the experience for these public transportation users. Designs that address the identified problem areas will be developed through physical prototypes, drawings, models, digital renderings and other relevant generative and communicative design work. The products that will be designed are not specified at the outset of the course, rather are developed in response to the needs and problems witnessed by the users observed and supported by the secondary research. These products may include: special lighting for buses or stops; display of information about transportation options; aural or tonal cue-providing products; resting options on buses, or at stops; and integration of walking with public transportation. Immediate production possibilities will exist for several of the products developed, and local or national transportation agencies will find them beneficial for current projects. The goal is to develop and modify products to make nonautomobile transit more accessible, safe, desirable and ultimately more feasible. Our design improvement strategy specifies the physical limitations faced by an aging population to develop products and product services that will provide better public transportation for all.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
In Progress
End Date:
December 31,2016
UTC Grant Cycle:
NITC Natl Education Round 2
UTC Funding:

Other Products

  • Design Principles and Practices Journal - paper still under peer review at this time. It will be presented on March 4th at the conference in Toronto. (PUBLICATION)
  • Design Research Towards Viable Bus Use for an Aging Population (PRESENTATION)