Researching Public Transit

Focusing on the developing waterfront of Long Island City, different methods were explored to understand the use, feelings, and services of the subway and bus systems in the area. This Design led research project was based on an open ended brief to explore design methods.


Role: Design Researcher || Team: Yuxin Cheng || Timeline: Aug - Dec 2017 || Tags: Design Research

Desk Research

Long Island City (LIC) is split into four main areas: the waterfront, a core business area, manufacturing center, and immigrant filled Sunnyside. We decided to focus on the waterfront because of its spike in development in recent years, as well as a diverse population and relation to Manhattan. Within this area, there are amazing views from all of the new residential units, but limited transportation options. With this theme in mind, we researched NYC public transit, LIC history and development, and location demographics to further understand the context. 

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The Transit Ecosystem

After reviewing the desk research, we mapped out the transit ecosystem to include all stakeholders and players to ensure we had a full picture. 

Understanding the Data

We then worked to deconstruct all of the data we collected with the probes. We took out and ranked key words, separated them into times interacting with the subway, and color coded based on use. 

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Field Research & Cultural Probes

After noting some of our assumptions, we created cultural probes to instigate interviewees during our field research. We then put these into practice in the field in LIC. 

Communicating our Results

We then created journey maps to showcase our findings in an easy to understand format that highlighted the different people living in the area and some of their needs. 

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Through all of the research we found that that many were pleased or OK with their transit options. Their biggest gripe: disrupted service. With these insights and the others listed above, we would then be placed to do more pointed research and service design work.