4.568J / CMS.634J / CMS.834
Designing Interactions: Rethinking the MBTA Ridership Experience

Requires permission of instructors

In collaboration with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA ) in Boston, and the MIT Media Lab City Science

Instructors — Federico Casalegno / casalegno@mit.edu, Ryan Chin

Design Critics — Prof. Kent Larson, Prof. Takehiko Nagakura

Train stations and bus stops act as nodes within a greater transportation network. These nodes contain services and programs that enhance ridership and rider experience. In the contemporary technological climate riders are constantly connected digitally. This overlayment of physical and digital produces a new form of connectedness.

How then can we make use of this new paradigm by connecting the Boston MBTA station services to public transit passengers by designing innovative experiences utilizing new media technologies?

In this course, students will study, design and prototype the future of the ridership experience for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Boston, MA by rethinking how to better connect the physical space of the station to riders through new media and technologies.

Working in collaboration with the MBTA in Boston, the goal for the class is to rethink existing physical and social constructs to better serve public transit riders: the challenge will be to improve the riding experience and to reinforce the relationship between customers and the MBTA.

Students will work in multidisciplinary groups to study and understand the issues related to public transit, real estate, and retail in order to develop innovative concepts; the class is hands-on, and students are expected to develop a series of mock-ups and prototypes that document their design process and illustrate their creative vision.

Class Structure
Students will work in small teams throughout the semester led by project liaisons from the Mobile Experience Lab at the MIT Comparative Media Studies. Each team will have to develop their original vision for the MBTA, documenting the process through a series of mock-ups and prototypes.

Expected Student assignments
Students will collaborate in teams to propose well-crafted solutions that creatively address the design brief. Students will be expected to propose design solutions through illustrations, prototypes (working and non-working), videos, and other types of media.

All backgrounds are welcome to participate in the workshop. Backgrounds in Architecture, Design, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Management, Media Arts and Sciences and Mechanical Engineering are preferred.