Firefly - Data driven Passenger dispatch
Developed just weeks before COVID-19 hit full scale, this project proposed a new effort to ease constant intrusion into individual personal space inside crammed subways. As 'personal space' becomes 'personal health space' ("keep your distance") the need to distribute passengers more evenly using data input from previous stations is stronger than ever before:
Firefly is a lighting solution that provides passenger information in an immediate way, appealing to human instincts. Making use of data input from previous stations, the firefly modules first light up to indicate exactly where the train will stop, notifying passengers ahead of time whether or not they are standing in range. Once they are on board, the remaining capacity of personal space inside the train carriage is measured and then communicated to passengers in the oncoming station, motivating them to seek out less crowded areas. This visual communication of the data encourages passengers to disperse more evenly across the train and platforms, which should positively impact customer experience and prevent delays. The modules fit onto the existing track infrastructure, functioning as an easy add-on element to any station. Firefly’s installation could serve as a beta-testing phase to test this hypothesis in times of COVID-19 and gather valuable data for future use cases, in order to assess the value this simple data-driven design solution could contribute, to both passengers and BVG.
This project took place during the winter term 2019/20 and was a cooperation of the research group Human-Centered Computing (FU-Berlin) and the Product Design Department (KH-Berlin Weißensee). Further more the course was part of the Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity« and supported by the CityLAB Berlin.