DESIGN Research Subcluster

The DESIGN Research Subcluster investigates the development of sustainable approaches to design and design methodologies for multimodal mobility systems, whereby the primary focus is user experience (UX). The aim is to promote sustainable and efficient mobility behaviors.

To this end, we devise theories and concepts that can foster the development of a behaviors-based framework as well as means to identify design parameters. The latter are tackled systematically in light of prototypical mobility spaces and mobility chains. In the long term, therefore, it will be possible to make policy recommendations on the planning, design, and operation of mobility spaces. The declared aim of the research is to enhance users’ acceptance and improve the development of mobility systems. We first analyze emotionally charged features of mobility spaces and their impact on users’ motivations and then devise concepts for their eventual design.

The Research Subcluster comprises Prof. Dr. Kai Vöckler, Prof. Peter Eckart, and the PhD candidates Annalena Kluge, and Julian Schwarze, who are all members of the Design Institute for Mobility and Logistics (DML) at the HfG Offenbach .

TRANSPORT Research Subcluster

Given the overarching aim of promoting public acceptance of environmentally friendly modes of transport, the New Mobility Working Group at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences is responsible in essence for two tasks.

One task is to analyze and evaluate transport data concerning the Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region at the heart of this research project. The first step is to closely define the area under analysis. The second is to collate and evaluate existing data on demographics, the available transport (transit) systems, and mobility behaviors. Passenger numbers of the RMV [Rhine-Main Regional Transport Association] will be paid particular attention.

The second task is to acquire and monitor target groups. Prototypical apps and scenarios are to be tested on diverse age groups from a variety of urban settings in order to assess the impact of design on individual mobility behaviors. In consultation with the LOEWE research partners, appropriate methodologies for mooting specific questions pertaining to the DESIGN, TRANSPORT, TECHNOLOGY, SOCIETY, and CITY Research Subclusters are to be selected and prepared. The New Mobility Working Group at Frankfurt UAS acts as first point of contact for participants in the target groups. All of the user-specific data is collated here, and then made available to the overall research project, in compliance with current legislation on data protection and privacy.

CITY Research Subcluster

While cities such as Copenhagen and Vienna epitomize the potential of “the people-friendly city,” most current principles and methodologies of urban development fail to deliver an effective mobility turn. By effective we mean mediatory, too, since links must be forged between solutions for the metropolitan and the district (neighborhood) levels, between users’ perspectives and the overarching interests of civil society. The CITY Research Subcluster therefore works on means of identifying and assessing the potential of those building blocks of sustainable urban development likely to foster mobility behaviors that are environmentally friendly and multimodal (i.e. involve various transport system providers). Research focuses on “Accessible Hubs” (neighborhood and station typologies); on mobility concepts that are specifically designed to enhance the quality of urban living and the urban climate; on design elements in public space that reduce barriers and enhance user experience (UX); and on digital tools for citizen participation and interaction. This approach draws on classic means of spatial analysis, such as GIS and Space Syntax, as well as on the assessment of psychophysiological effects (e.g. pulse and eye tracking) and on subjective evaluations, via smartphone, of street experience/ public space. The goal is to help shape the fundamental principles of urban development by making both policy recommendations and design proposals for selected transport hubs in the Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region.

TECHNOLOGY Research Subcluster

A core research issue for the Multimedia Communication Lab at the TU Darmstadt is how to promote environmentally friendly multimodal mobility behavior in playful ways.

One approach is to draw on so-called Serious Games, i.e. games that offer added value, above and beyond their “fun factor.” For example, “Good Health” games promote prevention and rehabilitation while “Social Awareness” and “Social Impact” games use play to heighten awareness and understanding of important social issues—security, religion, energy, the climate, and the like—and, potentially, also to change people’s attitudes to them. In cooperation with the New Mobility working group at the Frankfurt UAS and design experts at the HfG Offenbach, the Serious Games working group at the TU Darmstadt is devising a “Sliced Serious Game” that promotes environmentally friendly multimodal mobility behaviors. A prototype in the form of an app is to be tested with the help of the LOEWE Research Cluster target groups.

Privacy Policy for App Usage (in German)

The conceptual issues arising within this research encompass the design of an accessible, motivational game world set in an urban context; and the provision of locally relevant playful elements suitable for game-playing in bus or rail networks, or by pedestrians, and the content and interactive scope of which can be adapted to the relevant mode of transport, also when users change from one transport mode to another. “Context-aware” concepts for sensor-driven recognition of users’ current activities and transport modes are under development. The aim is to attain a better recognition rate than Google’s Awareness API app, for example, and more specifically, to be able to better differentiate between various forms of motorized transport.

SOCIETY Research Subcluster

The SOCIETY Research Subcluster turns the spotlight on individual mobility in interaction with existing transport (transit) systems and their attendant infrastructures. The overarching aim thereby is to identify and develop sustainable design approaches apt to foster environmentally friendly mobility behaviors. In the framework of this Research Subcluster, theoretical and conceptual contributions will be made to explaining how mobility design affects both the incidence of traffic and behavior modification. In addition, the collation of quantitative empirical data on mobility patterns and design-focused interventions within a selected cross-section of the Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region will be planned, carried out, and evaluated. The monitoring and evaluation of said interventions, in particular from psychological and socio-scientific perspectives, will be undertaken in cooperation with our research partners. The intention is to formulate policy and design recommendations based on these research findings and thus to further develop theoretical models for mobility behaviors.

The Research Subcluster comprises Prof. Dr. Martin Lanzendorf, Dr. Hannah Müggenburg, and Andreas Blitz, who are all members of the Mobility Research Working Group at the  Institute of Human Geography at the Goethe University Frankfurt.