COMMUTEnity is an instructional lighting system, providing location specific information with an integrated incentive-based point system. It promotes community by providing basic conversation starters and reinforces positive riding behaviors.


3 weeks:


Team Members


The Problem

For this project, our team team had to research and design a service to foster ease within Pittsburgh's public transit system.

While the Pittsburgh Port Authority aims to "Deliver outstanding transportation services which connect people to life" and "Become America’s premier public transportation company," university students and residents alike do not feel like they're doing their job.

With this in mind, we aimed to examine the process of boarding the bus with the intent to make this process: faster (for the other riders) more efficient (for the bus driver) less stressful (for the passenger boarding).

Later, informed by our initial research, we wanted to explore the human aspects of public transportation by looking at the various social groups that make use of PAT services and how they interact; increase the sense of community between these groups.

The Process

In our research, we talked to 7 stakeholders: 3 student riders, 3 non-student riders, and 1 bus driver.

We mapped out the trends from our initial data gathering using an affinity diagram. We we observed general difficulties with boarding and getting seated on the bus, we found that these actions were complicated by animosity between locals and students. Locals, who relied on the bus, found frustration with the learning curve of each new batch of students, and they also found it frustrating to compete with students who seemed to get to take the bus for free and take the for granted.

The Solution

Our solution aimed to facilitate ease on the public transport system by building community amongst Pittsburgh natives and students. To build this community, we proposed mechanisms that would help both types of riders by making boarding procedures clearer and less painful and facilitating conversation whilst riding.