Wheel Well: A two-day design sprint for bicycle safety

SVBC Wheel Well design sprint

Over the weekend of November 16–17, more than 20 California College of the Arts (CCA) undergraduate design students participated in a “design sprint” for bicycle safety in Silicon Valley. Organized by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition’s Roadway Safety Solutions Team and CCA’s Center for Art and Public Life, the challenge asked students to create an intervention campaign that would 1) improve the relationship between motorists and cyclists in Silicon Valley, and 2) encourage behavior change to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.

The completed projects represented very impressive work created over a short period of time. The winner of the competition was bipool, comprising Xiaofei Liu (Graphic Design 2015), Jingjing Yang (Graphic Design 2015), Qian Mao (Graphic Design 2015), and Di Wang (Industrial Design 2015). Their idea was to create formal infrastructure for carpool-like bicycle commute rides. Along with a unique logo, the team came up with a mobile app that would track people who bike, as well as map commonly used routes to popular locations. They created a bus stop–like sign as a meeting point/station for bipool users, where a map of route and departure times would be posted to encourage bike riders to meet up and travel together.

The bipool concept is based on the fact that there is safety in numbers, and that increasing bicyclist visibility will encourage people who would otherwise be reluctant to choose biking over driving. The winning team received a $1,500 stipend to polish their design, and they will work with SVBC, CCA, and the Roadway Safety Solutions Team to prepare a presentation for local jurisdictions and businesses in Silicon Valley.

The Runners-Up

Though the remaining five teams did not win the prize money, many were exposed to other valuable opportunities. The runner-up team, comprising Madeleine Maguire (Graphic Design 2015), Brittany Metz (Graphic Design 2015), Vivek Shah (Interaction Design 2015), Dong Seung Shin (Painting/Drawing 2014), and Alex Quinones-Bangs (Industrial Design 2014), was invited to work with the California Department of Motor Vehicles on a statewide campaign promoting peace and cooperation among road users.

Two of the groups whose ideas focused on wearable technology were encouraged by the CatEye representative to further hone their innovative designs.

A Networking Opportunity

On the day of the design sprint, students first met with experts from a variety of backgrounds, including representatives from IDEO, the City of Menlo Park, Redwood City, Scaled-Up Productions, PenVelo, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, Caltrans, the Stanford Hospital Trauma Center, Stanford University, the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the California DMV, and the law office of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly, and Schoenberger.

The remainder of the weekend was devoted to brainstorming and executing the students’ design ideas with help from design mentors from Google, Chronicle Books, and CCA, among other organizations. On Sunday, the students presented their ideas to a panel of jurors – representing organizations from Apple and Gensler to the California DMV and the City of Menlo Park – who chose the winning team.

Wheel Well was an inspiring event that bridged Silicon Valley's favorite pastime – innovation – with its soon to be favorite means of getting around – bicycles!

Our thanks go out to our generous partners and sponsors:

Stanford Trauma
Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Center for Art and Public Life
California College of the Arts

Breezer
Cateye
Edna’s
Edwards Mediation Academy
Rouda, Feder, Tietjen & McGuinn
Sportworks
Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger

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