Home » City of Riga launched the Mobility Lab sessions
The first Mobility Lab session aimed to promote the Green Silver Age Mobility in Riga was organized on November 22, 2019. City of Riga organized the first co-creation session in close collaboration with urban planning students from the University of Latvia, experts, active seniors and municipal specialists/civil servants.
The Mobility Lab is an interdisciplinary collaboration platform for co-design and testing of innovative planning and technological solutions in urban mobility and public transport aimed to improve the green mobility offer for seniors, ensuring that seniors are not “left behind” with technological progress.
In order to prepare for the first Mobility Lab session, students analysed mobility experience of more than 30 randomly selected seniors, interviewing them and/or accompanying them on their daily journeys across the city. It resulted in 3 typical for Riga seniors’ profiles, that were developed by students:
Ilga, a 78 years old retired, non-working woman
Victor, a 61 years old visually impaired man
Igor, a 65 years old man, hard-working retiree
Such assignment enabled students to assess the urban mobility from the viewpoint of seniors, describe and analyse their unique mobility experiences, challenges and obstacles. During the first Mobility Lab session participants divided in interdisciplinary groups consisting of students, experts, seniors and civil servants. Each group worked on a following 4-step assessment:
Step 1 – “Mapping the User Experience”
Step 2 – “Finding the Critical Point”
Step 3 – “Brainstorm on Potential Solutions”
Step 4 – “Ease of Implementation: Impact Assessment of Identified Solutions”
Each group prepared user experience maps to analyse the seniors’ experience of using one of the greenest public transport modes of the city – the tram – nearby the seniors’ most frequent destination in the city – Riga Central Market.
Key identified concerns were the following:
public transport timetables are not adapted for visually impaired people;
there is no staging platform tailored to seniors’ needs; existing platforms are too high;
additional risks are caused by public transport stopping at the platform too far from it – creating a dangerous gap;
seniors do not always have free seats at the public transport;
sometimes it is difficult to get in/get off the tram due to overcrowded carriages;
infrastructure near the tram stops is not always well-developed, pedestrian crossings are missing, it is dangerous to cross the rails due to uneven surface levels – seniors can easily get trapped;
the best-known and the safest-chosen route is not always the shortest one in terms of time and distance.
In the next step, each group defined critical points, e.g., – inappropriate tram stops – and defined potential solutions, such as:
re-design public transport timetables matching the sight of seniors – larger displays, bigger letters and numbers, etc;
provide seniors with the opportunity to get familiar with the mobile phone apps, making it easier for them to find out exact time of public transport departures/arrivals;
improve the lighting at public transport stops;
prepare printed public transport schedules and distribute them to the seniors (by the municipality), and many other.
Finally, each group analysed identified solutions, applying the quadralup matrix: quick wins, time-consuming tasks, temporary solutions, ungrateful tasks. The results of the group work were presented to the audience, peer-reviewed, discussed and evaluated.
Thus, participants of the first Mobility Lab session co-designed initial solutions how to adapt urban space to the seniors’ needs and make it more comfortable for the target group. Also, the first solutions how to better facilitate different green mobility modes from the target groups’ perspective, were identified. In the end of the first Mobility Lab sessions seniors expressed their sincere gratitude for being invited to the event, for being heard and actively involved. In addition, seniors also affirmed their willingness to collaborate during the next Mobility Lab sessions.
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