HOV Zone

HOV Zone

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What if driving was an earned privilege? Can the government regulate freedom of movement? HOV Zone explores a city-wide system of carpooling and mass transportation which is regulated by the government. Zones dynamically update to designate what vehicle occupancy is permitted. 

 

 

 

How will urban mobility change in an uncertain future?

As a part of kickoff workshop, the 6 teams explored New York City for about 3 hours to find a future possibility in a current city. My team experienced a Dollar Ban which is an informal transportation for the Chinese population.

framework1

 

 

 

framework2Through diagramming and ideation, my team found the possibility to reduce congestion from current carpooling. Congested streets are the main cause for gridlock in cities. More than 76% of commuters drive alone in cars, and that figure is growing. Everyone grasps the concept that carpooling or using public transportation alleviates congestion, but few people are willing to sacrifice the comfort, convenience, and social buffer that being alone in a car provides.

 

speculative diagram
Speculative Diagram (click to see details)

 

System prototype
System prototype

 

 

 

 

Congested streets are the main cause for gridlock in cities. More than 76% of commuters drive alone in cars, and that figure is growing. Everyone grasps the concept that carpooling or using public transportation alleviates congestion, but few people are willing to sacrifice the comfort, convenience, and social buffer that being alone in a car provides.

HOV Zone explores a city-wide system of carpooling and mass transportation which is regulated by the government. Zones dynamically update to designate what vehicle occupancy is permitted.

 

How the system works (Click to see details)
How the system works (Click to see details)

The city-wide system of zones determines what level of vehicle occupancy is allowed at a given moment in the day. These zones dynamically change based on traffic conditions and real-time updates are available via car dashboard and mobile devices.

Drivers are required to meet occupancy requirements as they make their way through the zones. Zones are classified by the minimum number of passengers required: Zone 1 requires only one passenger, whereas Zone 4 requires at least four. The more strict the occupancy rule, the greater the need to reduce congestion in that area, such as a downtown business district. Zone indicators are posted around the city, in places such as bus stops and roadways signs.

Traffic sign in the HOV Zone
Traffic sign in the HOV Zone
Pickup area
Pickup area

 

Drivers are equipped with a mobile app that monitors zone requirements and offers alerts about available passengers for pick-up. Similar to an app such as Uber, all participants have profiles and their safety is guaranteed through the program’s insurance policy. Common pick-up places are at pre-existing transit locations, such as bus stops. With the aid of technology, door-to-door transits are also an option.

<4 types of user journey>

1. Car lover

2. Couple 

3. Urban Hitchhiker 

4. Introvert visual scenario_journey_introvert_1

 

Although many cities around the world already have driving restrictions based on where a car is in the city, there’s always an option to pay to opt-out of the occupancy requirement. This system does not allow for such an option. By positioning enforcement at a city-level, the long term goal for this top-down policy is eventual social acceptance. Carpooling will become the new normal.

The whole idea of transportation would shift with this plan. No longer about personal access to a vehicle to go anywhere one pleases, vehicular transportation would now be about the collective agency. This change in transportation would clearly have knock-on effects elsewhere in the city. People might move toward more environmentally friendly options such as walking, biking, and public transit. New economies would pop-up around the growth of parking lots and change traffic patterns. People may not travel as far away from their home.