Designing a mobility dashboard: features and considerations
In order to suggest more interesting modes of transport or different alternatives for a certain journey, you can incorporate mode attributes and attitudes towards them in the user preferences. Users should be able to indicate the relative importance they attach to each of the attributes that can then be measured objectively (journey time, price, sustainability, accessibility) so the system can prioritise the suggestions based on these attitudes. The advantages of certain modes could be highlighted in order to increase the positive reception of suggested alternatives. You could show the advantages of certain options for instance based on these attributes, e.g. emphasize the sustainability of the sustainable options or highlight the price advantage of a certain option or the time factor. Furthermore, you could provide information about accessibility of the different modes and locations (parking lots etc.) in your city.
In terms of convenience and safety, you could highlight the safety aspect of the mobility system for people on the move limiting or avoiding interactions required while driving or cycling. Bicycle-friendliness is also worth taking into account as well as the different terrains (surface type, gradient), bike lanes (availability and position – on-street or separate) and the speed and amount of passing traffic.
The system should also help users to find parking places, point out obstacles on the route and enable them to plan their activities.
www.komoot.com: when creating a (bicycle) route you can see the terrain and height profile of your route.
Users should be able to make choices based on price, distance and journey time. The dashboard should also help users with public transport connections by providing them with information about real-time pass through times and transfer hubs for instance. You should help them to adopt different planning strategies, such as leaving home at the latest possible moment or getting as close to their destination as quickly as possible. Include an option to avoid hold-ups such as traffic incidents and heavy traffic. And last but not least, the system should also help people who are non-residents or who are not regular visitors to your city as they are likely to look up information before they start their journey.
The dashboard should support intermodal journeys by including first- and last-mile solutions and alternative transport modes. Users should be able to insert their preferences for first- and last-mile solutions and to indicate if they have a drivers’ license or a travel pass (public transport, shared service…). They should also be able to set the maximum amount of time / distance that they want to travel.
Screenshots of the Mobile-C app by Last Mile Solutions. This app allows users to search for charging stations in their area.
https://www.qixxit.com/en/: you can indicate if you have a PT subscription (here: BahnCard).
When supporting intermodal journeys, you should notify users about the existence and opportunities of alternative modes of transport. If people are not familiar with certain modes or services, it is helpful to show them how these work, how much they cost and how they can be used.
Users will appreciate being kept informed about the areas in which they make frequent journeys, so they are aware of potential problems on any unplanned trips (support unplanned journeys). Give them the option of inputting areas of interest that they would like information on. Suggestions for areas of interest can be set to a radius around the home and work location or a radius around recurring routes.
You might also want to think about including information about recreational journeys. Recreational journeys include journeys in which the journey itself and not the destination is most important. In fact with many of these journeys, the destination will be the same as the starting point. Recreational journeys include leisure and sports activities. In order to support these recreational journeys, make sure to provide information about disturbances in areas where there is frequent recreational transport and that may be suitable for recreational transport including bike lanes and running trails.
If you want to enhance the travel experience and make the system more rewarding, include tools that enable users to express their appreciation. Help users choose modes of transport by highlighting the advantages; the physical exercise gain from using active modes, or the relaxing qualities of certain options. Take account of attitudes towards certain modes: if users find the bus or bicycle relaxing, highlight them, if not then don’t. Provide users with qualitative, real-time and reliable information. Make it clear which information is included and why or if not why not. Users should also be able to communicate negative experiences they’ve had; these can contribute to improving road safety or the mobility system itself. Examples include dangerous situations, broken infrastructure, bad road surfaces and glass on bike lanes.
Users should also be able to override their usual preferences to match their travel circumstances, for example when travelling with others (social travelling), or in order to give more importance to certain factors (safety when travelling with children for instance).
https://citymapper.com/ -> shows how many calories you burn during your journey.
The system should include contextual information that helps the users in their journeys. The first priority is to look at structural circumstances which include the contextual factors that are likely to have an impact over longer periods of time. We have identified three different sub-themes: personal (e.g. access to modes), traffic (e.g. infrastructure, detours) and external (e.g. weather conditions) factors.
The second priority is ad-hoc circumstances. The most important consequence of any ad-hoc circumstance is the element of uncertainty that these add to the journey. Ad-hoc circumstances include unpredictable contextual factors or factors that may vary over shorter periods of time and how these may affect travel behaviour. We have identified four different sub-themes: personal, traffic, external factors and consequences. Users should be able to override their usual preferences to adjust to their travel circumstances. For example they will not want to receive cycling recommendations if they are carrying lots of luggage. The system should actively inform users about ad-hoc circumstances that could affect a journey. It should ensure that users are up to date with the current situation. This could help avoid problems, solve problems and avoid annoyance, e.g.: notifications about delays on public transport that could result in users missing their connection, notifications about road blocks, congestion or parking restrictions in relevant areas. Users should also be notified of alternative options to help circumvent the problems caused by ad-hoc circumstances.
Users often make habitual / recurrent journeys that the system should take into account. Users are unlikely to look up information about these journeys as they are familiar to them, so the system should push the information to them. The system could create awareness about other options that could be interesting for the user to consider, e.g. by suggesting non-habitual options and highlighting the advantages thereof.
Not all users have full mobility and often suffer from limited accessibility. The system can simplify life for them by providing them with information about the different options that are accessible to them. The system should allow these users to select possible modes of transport, input their accessibility needs and maximum distances for active transportation. The system should bear these limitations in mind when offering suggestions and should give users full information on accessibility for different modes of transport and information about bus and train stations and parking garages.
Interacting with information
The information provided by the system has to be reliable, complete and clear of course and information overload should be avoided. Users should be able to find and extract information from the system easily. If information is directly useful or relevant, the system should push it to the users. Important information should also be available offline, in the physical infrastructure, for people who do not use the mobility system or for people whose phone batteries may have died.
The objective of the system is to cater fully to the information needs of the users, for this reason it should contain information that will help them avoid disruptions on their journey. Users who make recurrent or familiar journeys should be sent push notifications about any irregularities that could affect their journey. It should help (vulnerable) road users to enjoy a safe journey by supplying information on road/route safety, highlighting dangerous and safe areas. This is of particular importance to cyclists, the elderly and anyone travelling with children. Parking options are also useful, ideally displaying on-street and off-street parking availability in real-time. This could steer drivers towards areas that offer the best chance of finding a parking spot.
The information provided by the system should be of good quality, namely reliable and up to date. Users should be notified if any information is not 100% certain (such as trends, predictions and non-real-time information) so they can interpret it accordingly. Access to contextual information about the city and its features is important in providing answers to any questions about mobility in the city.
When setting up your dashboard you need to think about a communication channel for users bearing in mind the different attitudes towards certain communication channels and what they should be used for. Offer your users a broad range of communication channels to choose from, so that there is always a suitable option without users having to create a new social media account. Allow reactions / comments to messages communicated to users in order to improve data quality and tweak the system and thus improve user-friendliness. Give users the possibility of sending messages to the city about traffic- or city-related problems via the platform.
In order to boost support for users’ travel behaviour the system should provide information that existing platforms do not currently provide. By so doing, the information gathered for the mobility platform could be a useful asset in supporting third-party applications. Important information should not only be available within the system but also outside, in the physical infrastructure.
Personal data protection is obviously very important and communications about how this data is stored and being used is crucial. This information that is relevant to users should be visualized in a comprehensive and meaningful way so that it is comprehensible and easy to find. This can be achieved by enabling users to filter information easily within the platform.
Alerts should be useful to the targeted users; they should be personalised to match the preferences expressed in their profile. Users must also be able to switch on or disable alerts at all times.
And finally, the system should be consistent across platforms, displaying similar information in similar fashion. Users should be notified of any differences between platforms, such as non-availability of certain types of information so that they are not left wondering why they are unable to find information on a certain device.