Let's GET HOme

A human-centered research project and redesign of the CMU Shuttle Escort Services.
Our final poster outlining the research and design process for this project.

Recent events in the greater Carnegie Mellon University area has members of our community feeling unsafe and uneasy. This research and design project investigates public safety in and around campus and identifies a key area for intervention.

Fall 2018, 3 weeks

User Research
User Interaction

Jason Zhu
Rachel Lee


In order to gain a better understanding of the people and their differing kinds of involvement in CMU’s public safety, we began by creating territory and experience maps. We were then able to pinpoint the CMU Escort Shuttle, our school’s sole commuter safety program, as the service to examine and its off-campus student users as the demographic to consult.


01/ Riding the Shuttle

By experiencing the shuttle first-hand, we gained a better understanding of the formal and informal procedures when riding the shuttle. We observed the shuttle’s passengers and drivers, their interactions with one another and noted the artifacts involved as well.

02/ Mapping Safety

Our compiled safety maps with a colored overlay of the shuttle's areas of operation

Stationed in university common areas, we invited off-campus student residents to pinpoint where they felt most unsafe during their nightly commutes. By cross referencing this data with the shuttle’s areas of operation, we were able to reason out the possibility that the shuttle was not servicing areas that community members might need the service in the most.

03/ Interviews

Preview of our data collection sheet
We returned to the same common spaces and conducted interviews with students living off-campus. Our questions were centered around their familiarity with the service and possible issues they, as users and non-users, had with the service. All together, we collected 126 unique responses.
01/ Perception

The escort shuttle suffers from a poor reputation in part because the university provides inadequate information about the escort service and its key features.
02/ Waiting Period

Live tracking does not inform riders of the exact times when the shuttle will arrive at pickup stops. This leaves riders with no choice but to wait for extended periods.
03/ Performance

The shuttle can take upwards of an hour to deliver passengers home. Many riders blamed poor route planning as the current system relies solely on driver intuition.
04/ Drivers

Riders note that they often felt uneasy or even unsafe because they did not know who was driving them home.

By optimizing the route home, the reputation of the CMU Escort Shuttle will improve and sequentially, its use. With more students using the CMU Escort Shuttle, campus public safety will better as well.
01/ ID Cards

Since ID cards are already embedded with the cardholder's residence information, students and faculty will scan their IDs instead of verbally informing drivers of their destinations and presenting proof of university affiliation.
02/ Efficient Route Planning

After the system retrieves each rider's home address, an algorithm will determine the most efficient drop off route to expedite travel time. This information is relayed to the driver's GPS.
03/ Live Tracking

Estimated arrival time to pickup stops will be calculated and viewable alongside the shuttle's most updated location via the existing mobile app for more efficient trip planning. Route information will provided to the riders via a screen on the shuttle and the mobile app.