3.1 Online surveys

To allow us to gather a wide range of opinions about sharing from people around the world we created and conducted two online surveys. By incorporating the findings from the literature review we formed the survey questions. The surveys were designed to collect information about what things people were willing to share and with whom, what shared products or services people had used and their motivations for using them, as well as the key benefits or barriers people had regarding vehicle/ride sharing services. The survey questions and participants’ demographic information can be found in our report (click ‘DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT’ at the bottom of this webpage).

3.2 User enactment workshops

In order to build on the responses we received from the online surveys we wanted to look deeply into people’s views on sharing and hear personal stories of their experiences. We had specific aims for the workshops which were to discover patterns of ownership, patterns of sharing in the community, the frequency of sharing activities and what configurations people would like to have in a shared vehicle interior. To do so we held user enactment workshops which were also part of our research into the sharing economy’s influence on mobility design, with the aim to create new vehicle related services and designs. The workshops explored the topics of ownership and sharing in the participants’ personal life as well as their car sharing experiences. We intended to understand people’s motivations and barriers for sharing as well as find out who they would share with and what they were happy to share.

3.2.1 Workshop participants

The fifteen participants for all three workshops lived in London, represented different genders, came from a diversity of backgrounds and were aged between 24 and 72 years of age. Some of the participants owned and drove cars, shared their car with others, had a drivers licence but did not own a car, or did not drive but used ride, bike or car rental and sharing services. After the participants had settled into the space and were seated around a table with the facilitator they each signed the consent forms and were given information about the workshop.

Fig 1. Infographics of workshop 1 participants

Fig 2. Infographics of workshop 2 participants

Fig 3. Infographics of workshop 3 participants

The workshops were conducted in 2.5 hour sessions, which included open discussion, individual filling in of worksheets and role play. The sessions were audio recorded and notes were taken whilst the worksheets were collected to facilitate further analysis. Each workshop was divided into five sessions which included storytelling, filling in with who and what they are willing to share sheets, making a tribal map, journey mapping and an interactive session.

3.2.2 Storytelling and mapping

As an icebreaker, the participants were asked to share a brief story of a general sharing experience, sharing a commute, sharing as a driver and sharing as a passenger (with each participant choosing or being given a different option). 

This was followed by them completing an exercise to find out what things they would share and with whom. We had prepared pictorial icons to represent various possessions to help participants to identify, decide and choose the appropriate ones to link with people’s roles (Figure 4).

Fig 4. MORPH workshop tools: pictorial icons

From the labelled pictorial icons representing various possessions we asked the participants to each select five things they would share with someone they know. They were given A3 sheets of paper titled Groups and asked to stick these possession icons, in no particular order, on the five circles printed on the left hand side of the sheets. On the right hand side of the sheets were printed people icons to represent family, friends, neighbours, co-workers and top rated users. They were asked to draw lines to link the possession icon to the person icon showing what they would be willing to share and with whom (figure 5 & 6).

Fig 5. An example of a completed Groups A3 sheet

Fig 6. A workshop participant completing the Groups sheet

They were then asked to think about who they share journeys with, how often and what type of trips they were taking. They were asked to base this on the scenario they had outlined in the storytelling icebreaker exercise and to choose from each of the columns in Figure 7 below.

Fig 7. Sharing journeys chart

The participants were again given the people icons which they were asked to place on a tribal map (figure 8) which had three concentric circles printed to indicate the relationship distance to sharing between themselves and others. At the centre, circle 1, represents Me, or the participant, the closest one can be to oneself. The next outer circle, circle 2, represented a less close proximity to themselves in terms of sharing with others. The furthest, circle 3, was still more distant. The participants also used beyond the circles over the outer part of the sheet for people categories they felt they least wanted to share with (Figure 9).

Fig 8. Blank Tribal Map

Fig 9. Making a Tribal Map

Fig 10. Workshop participants completing their journey maps

From their story either sharing as a passenger or sharing as a driver they were asked to divide their described journey into five significant stages and to explain why these were key moments in their recollection of that journey (Figure 10).

We then asked the participants to think about their motivations for sharing and the barriers they have towards sharing. They each wrote three keywords on post-it notes that we grouped on the wall under the headings ‘motivations’ and ‘barriers’ (Figure 11).

Fig 11. Discussion about motivations and barriers to sharing

3.2.3 Interactive Session

At the next stage of workshop one we gave each participant an A3 sheet of paper which was printed with a basic aerial view of a car outline. We provided cut out paper shapes representing different vehicle interior components as props, for example fixed seats, fold up seats or a steering wheel that we asked them to place on the vehicle outline, as well asking them to draw other components to illustrate the layout of the vehicle during the journey each participant had described using Figure 12. They were then asked to repeat the exercise on a blank vehicle outline to indicate their preferred layout (Figure 13).

Fig 12. Current car layout

Fig 13. Preferred car layout

In workshops two and three we asked each participant to enact the journey they had described using the other participants to act as their companions on that journey. We had printed a full-scale basic aerial view of a car outline which we had placed on the floor (Figure 14). We asked them to position and then sit on chairs on the outline and talk through the journey describing anecdotal information about it. We then discussed with them if they would like the interior to be differently laid out and to demonstrate in what way.

Fig 14. Car outline with adjustments

3.3 Creating the design briefs

After we had held the user workshops and online surveys we analysed the data and insights. The research findings influenced and informed the next stage of the project which was to create and build scenarios. The service designers and researchers held a brainstorming session in order to discuss, debate and outline the scenarios from which the design briefs would be developed. We used post-it notes to jot down keywords and ideas to build each story then we grouped them together under key headings. Four narratives were created that would allow us to explore and address different in-vehicle situations and journey types in the services and design stage.

Fig 15. Diagram of the scenario ideas for the design briefs

3.4 Concept design

When we reached this stage we involved four vehicle designers and briefed them with the design briefs and blueprints as well as the service design scenarios that detailed the personas, their sharing lifestyles, in-journey actions of both the user and the service provider, plus considerations and the needs of the user. We then asked them to think about possible design elements they could use to solve the problems related to each persona and scenario. Lastly, we asked them to create a roadmap from the present to 2060 with two milestones in between (click ‘DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT’ at the bottom of this webpage to see the Transition Roadmaps in Chapter 5).

3.5 Conclusions

The online surveys were a tool to give us information about people’s views on sharing products and services in general as well as mobility sharing. The user enactment workshops were designed so we could collect more detailed information about people’s sharing habits and views. Telling their stories of using shared services, products and sharing vehicles was a method to relax the participants and open up points for discussion. The exercises about what possessions they would share and with which groups of people were to help us determine if there were any patterns to people’s sharing behaviour, which would perhaps be further confirmed by the participants completion of the tribal maps. The journey mapping session was developed to ascertain what elements they would identify as important and show us if there were any notable stages that were prioritised in their sharing mobility experiences. The interactive sessions were devised to get the participants to detail the interior layout and components that were in the vehicle on the trip they had described. 

Research through design uses design as a tool to reach conclusions from the research – using the methods, practices and processes of design with the intention of generating new knowledge. The concept design stage is intended to draw together all elements of the research from the literature we had read, the online surveys, the user enactment workshops and the design scenarios into tangible services and vehicle designs, building on the findings. This stage would culminate in rich visualisations of how the future of shared mobility could be.

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Research Team and Acknowledgement

The MORPH core research team includes Dr. Jiayu Wu, Dr. Sheila Clark, Ashley Kennard, Daniel Quinlan, Katrine Hesseldahl and Sam Johnson. The service designers are Hyojin Bae and Nayoon Lee. The concept designers are Patryk Musielak (NANO), YoungJae Kim (MOSEY), Jiaheng Wei (ENROUTE) and Dinesh Raman (SPAREVROOM). 

MORPH was sponsored by Hyundai-Kia. The financial support enabled the Intelligent Mobility Design Centre of the Royal College of Art to conceive and explore new areas in transport experiences, vehicle design, digital technology integration, mobility systems and other research topics. We would like to thank Hyundai Motor’s German and Korean offices for their involvement in feedback and review during the research.

Special thanks to Dr. Cyriel Diels, Professor Stephen Boyd Davis and Professor Dale Harrow for reviewing and providing feedback during the research and for the final report.

Finally a special thank you to William Renel for designing the MORPH website, Jane Savory, Hannah Adeuya and Lulu Ishaq for managing the finance and logistics.

Launched in 2016 at the Royal College of Art, the Intelligent Mobility Design Centre (IMDC) leads research at the intersection of people, mobility and technology within a complex and changing urban and global environment.

The Royal College of Art is ranked the No. 1 art and design university by the QS World University Rankings, 2021.

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