RSA Competition Briefs

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Today, we officially begin the field module , which will focus on a product design competition brief and then, the exhibition of my design within our end of year degree show. I had already scanned through the RSA student design awards competitions, but today I have been reading through each brief in far more detail. I feel that some of the briefs seem clearly more graphics design based and some others simply don’t pique my interest… I have narrowed my choice to three briefs: Creative conditions – Design and develop a vision and business case for an environment or situation that prompts and fosters creative thinking Fair Play – Design or re-design a consumer toy and its product packaging to minimise waste and environmental impact Mobility City – Design or re-design a mode of public transport to improve the experience of people with disabilities that will, in turn, improve the experience for […]

Mobility City

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After undertaking some initial research, I have decided to undertake the Mobility City competition brief. Overall, I feel that the brief suites my skill set far better than the other two and I I have a great deal of interest in the area of transport design. To get a better understanding of the problems facing people with disabilities, I have undertaken some initial secondary research into the three main forms of mass transport – Buses and Coaches, Trains and Airplanes. After looking at current buses from all over the world, I feel that most of the problem areas have been solved to the point where there is little more room for improvement. For this reason, I have decided to look more closely at trains and planes. Today I have been looking mainly at commercial airplanes, where I have found that many if not all have very narrow aisles, meaning that any wheelchair […]

Trains

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After an analysis of the problems facing people with disabilities on trains and planes,  feel as though my project is heading in the direction of a new train system. Although I have discovered significant flaws in the interior design of airplanes, I feel that the base design of most commercial aircraft would be highly restrictive for a redesign, especially considering the demands of airline companies to utilise as much space as possible inside the aircraft… Current train systems suffer from a large number of problems which mainly affect disabled passengers. I have identified the main problems for both the train itself and the train stations: Train – Narrow aisles – Limited space for wheelchair users (usually segregated) – Difficult access between carriages – Unreliable system for alerting passengers to current and next station Station – Confusing layout for access to different platforms – Signage difficult to understand / difficult to read – Platform to […]

Magnetic Levitation Technology

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Today I have been looking into Magnetic Levitation, a technology which uses electromagnets to allow objects to hover and glide above a track. Magnetic Levitation, aka Maglev is commonly associated with modern high speed trains, as the technology is perfect for this use. The main advantages of Maglev trains over current trains are: – Far greater energy efficiency – Very low noise pollution – High speeds achievable with ease – Theoretically safer – Requires less maintenance – Virtually unaffected by adverse weather conditions – Purely electric powered, zero pollution created by train itself, can easily run of sustainable power sources – Elevated tracks ensure little to no interference with current infrastructure – Far smoother ride for passengers Due to the plethora of advantages posed by this technology in comparison to current trains, I have decided to use Maglev technology as a basis for my design solution.

Inclusive Design

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Today I have been researching various common disabilities and the problems that occur when people with such disabilities attempt to use trains. It’s clearly apparent that redesigning the a train system to suite just one disability would be absurd and so I have decided to adopt an inclusive approach to my design, ensuring that the design is accessible for all potential users. In an attempt to organise the information I have been reading, I have created a list of potential problems for three common disabilities when using a train: Wheelchair Users – Entrance to train – Stability on train – Separate seating areas – Access to platform – Maneuverability on train – Access and use of toilets Users with visual impairments – Visibility of train doors – Being able to read visual information / signage – Identifying each train stop – Purchasing tickets / paying fare – Maneuvering the train […]

Design Ideas

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Over the past few days, I have been working on a few design concepts for the interior and exterior of my Maglev train design. I am a little worried about the deadline being so soon (5th March) but I’m sure that as long as I keep working at this pace, I will have a final design before then. I have been trying my best to stay true to the inclusive design principle, though the considerable time constraints that are in place are slightly hindering my creativity if I am completely honest… Overall though, I am quite happy with my progress. My ideas are focused on ensuring that the train is fully adaptable to any passenger who could use it. With adaptable seating, the user would feel less embarrassed about using the features intended solely for people with disabilities. Instead, the process would be so streamlined that other users would barely […]

Concept Development

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Over the weekend I have been working on my concepts to create some development sketches. I have been working mainly on the aesthetic of the train carriages and the station & train boarding system. Working from the problems identified in my research regarding most disabled passengers having problems with buying tickets, navigating the station, finding and entering the train and finally, accessing appropriate seating, I have developed a system where the passenger is guided through every step of the station and train boarding process. The station would be designed to conform to all relevant laws and standards to ensure it was as accessible as possible. The passenger would be aided through every step via a discreet travel card that ensure the station could adapt to their disability, whilst making sure that they were not singled out and possibly patronised by staff. The aesthetics of the train itself have been inspired by […]

Sizing stuff…

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Today I have been following on from my concept development with a more in-depth look at various standards such as the minimum door & corridor width and the maximum  ramp incline angle for wheelchair users. Overall, the sizing would make the train carriage rather wide, though seeing as the Maglev infrastructure would need to be created from scratch, it could easily be made to accommodate such wide carriages. I have  also started to consider matters such as high contrast information screens with large & clear text. Perhaps the windows themselves could be the screens, where the travel card adapts the passenger’s needs?…

Station Planning

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I have been working on the planning of my Maglev train station for the past two days… Initially, I began by outlining a basic concept which utilised a system of colored lines which could direct the passengers towards the correct platform. Each passenger would receive a travel card, customised to their needs. It would keep all relevant information pertaining to the passenger such as whether they require wheelchair access, have sight problems, etc. From this concept, I have now pulled my sizing research to create an ergonomic and inclusive platform. I feel sustainability is important to every project I undertake and so I have ensured that the station utilises solar cell technologies to allow each platform to generate power for itself

Cardiff Maglev – The Final Design

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I finally feel as though I have a full, final design for my mobility city project! I have developed a CAD model and render with all aspects in the correct scale, which I am really happy with! The train design harks back to the 1950’s art deco style that I originally outlined as a desired aesthetic, whereas the platforms and station take a more functional visual, with elements of sweeping architecture. Working with the constraints put forward by the sizing standards, I feel I have been able to combine form and function into an inclusive transport concept which answers the mobility city brief. I am proud of the aesthetic, as well as the various functionality upgrades that the concept has from a conventional train, however I do know that this concept will need to be developed further…