Getting a seat on public transport can be difficult, especially if the reason for needing a seat isn’t visible to everyone. This solution helps those in need get a seat on public transport, without having to ask.
Identify a problem and design a solution for it.
Background & Research
There’s a lot of SL customers who are in need of a seat. Often people offer their seat for the heavily pregnant women, or seniors who are clearly in need of a seat. But what about those who we can’t visibly tell is in need of a seat? People with conditions such as diabetes, or women in the early stages of pregnancy, can suffer from feelings of severe dizziness and nausea and are often desperate for a seat.
In addition, it doesn’t matter if it’s visible or not, for different reasons we have seen that people don’t want to interrupt a stranger and ask if they can have their seat. This is a problem that has become even bigger during recent years, since most of the sitting passengers spend the majority of their travel time staring down at their phones, unaware of their surroundings.
Early pregnant women more desperat for a seat
Qualitative research tells us that pregnant women are often most desperate for a seat during the first weeks of pregnancy when it's not visible that they are pregnant. During this time, they often suffer from dizziness and nausea.
Uncomfortable asking strangers
The majority of the people we interviewed told us that they feel uncomfortable asking a stranger for their seat.
People want to help, but don't know who to help
Research also tells us that the majority of passengers would be happy to give their seat away to someone who is in a bigger need of if, if they only knew who they were.
How might we design a solution that helps those in need of sitting down during travel to acquire a seat without having to ask a stranger, so that they can feel safe and comfortable when traveling with SL?
With the help of Bluetooth, we designed a function in SL’s mobile application that allows the person that is in need of a seat to send out a request to everyone nearby that would like to offer their seat, but isn't aware that someone is in need of it. By nudge-thinking, this solution helps more people feel safe and comfortable when traveling with SL.
How it works
Ask for a seat
A person in need of a seat opens the SL-app and presses the ”ask for a seat” function.
Searching for seats
The app searches via Bluetooth for passengers nearby who have the SL-app installed on their phone and Bluetooth activated.
Everyone within 10 meters who has the SL-app and Bluetooth activated will get a notification saying ”Someone on the train is in need of a seat. Would you like to give away your seat?”.
Enter your position
When clicking the notification the user gets to describe where on the train they are sitting and then click ”Give away my seat”.
The person requiring a seat receives a message describing the location of the person who wants to give away their seat.
Thank you for your help. The passenger is on his way to take over your seat.