UWE 2017 Hong Kong STEM project

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git hub rebo fork from clares original project code https://github.com/danbz/realbus-final-source-code

video share room https://appear.in/uwe-hk-2017

notes from meeting thursday 4 - may

discussing work so far from @claremarshuwe
including cleanliness of data from bristolAPI, 
identifying objectives with all, including possibilities of
novel interactive public displays
intelligent responsive timetables
predictive sensing of passenger needs from smart shelters to help timetabling, 
machine learning analysis of traffic and delays for more accurate prediction
journey analysis and prediction with advice for alternative services ( eg 'walk to bus stop 17 for a quicker journey via XXX') 
smart Routing<
Walking advice< (edited)

meeting two 8/5/17

why do we have timetables ? can we predict need and dynamically alter timetable/routes? 
predictive timetables
bus shelter as node in intelligent city network, being aware of people and in communication with city and other shelters
incorporate data and machine learning 
shelter as smart city info point

git hub rebo fork from clares original project code https://github.com/danbz/realbus-final-source-code

research for the week

Adam Symonds Field Research (09/05/2017)

Today I went into the field and got onto buses to make social observations in regard to what bus users do during their trip. Amongst things i've seen before, and today's observations I have found that people do the following:

  • Listen to music
  • Talk on their phones
  • Play mobile games
  • Read the paper
  • Chat amongst their selves
  • People watch
  • Stand and talk to the driver
  • Surf the web/check emails (including social media)
  • Finger nails - clean, bite, and chew
  • Pick their nose - it's amazing what people do when they think no one is watching!
  • Clean glasses/lenses
  • Eat and drink
  • See to their children (feeding and entertaining them)
  • Read notices on display aboard the bus
  • Observe their surroundings and fellow passengers both on and off the vehicle
  • Draw
  • Code on laptops

Following the social observations I got off of the bus at one of the main stops in central Bristol to talk to people waiting for the bus. By doing this I found out what apps people use when waiting for the bus and what habits people have. The results are as follows:

User Apps and Habits
User # Apps Habits
User 1 News and general web surfing Checking the news and bus checker applications
User 2 Social Media and bus checker applications Smoke
User 3 Mobile bus ticket app and news News or emails
User 4 Mobile bus ticket app, BBC Sports, Mobdro (video streaming app), and Candy Crush Candy Crush
User 5 Games, Social Media, and Music Smoke and listen to music
User 6 Social media, news, music, sports, and games Smoke and listen to music
User 7 Doesn't have a smart phone but says that there should be digital timetables at every stop Smoke and read the paper if she has one
User 8 Social media Call a friend, and listen to music
User 9 Social media, emails, and news but states "Life would be so much easier if the bus stops had wifi too". Also suggested the ability to buy tickets and prices at the bus stop as well as news on delays, road works and heavy traffic Social media, and the news.
User 10 Bus checker applications, news, and BBC sports Play games on their mobile.

Katie Brooks Field Research (Observations, Informal Interviews and Quantitative Data Gathering 10/05/2017)


The purpose of Wednesday's field trip was to observe people going about their daily business at the bus stops/shelters in Stratford Upon Avon town, taking into consideration their behaviour, habits, attitude and body language. As well as primary observations, informal interviews and tally charts were issued to people ranging in demographics at the bus shelters in order to learn more about why a user feels a certain way.

Observational Insights:

Bus stop 1 - Mostly school teens

  • Chatting amongst themselves
  • Joking around
  • Sitting staring into space
  • Writing in diaries
  • Playing with paper
  • On their phones for a duration of 5 minutes or so

Bus stop 2 - Older folks

  • Chatting amongst themselves
  • Staring into space
  • Looking at the paper timetables
  • Trying to open a pack of polos
  • I noticed was that no one was looking down the street for the bus, or pacing around in boredom. They seemed pretty relaxed as if the knew at some point the bus would arrive

Bus stop 3 - Older college kids

  • Sat on the floor leaning against a building on phones
  • Some talking to one another
  • Occasionally looked down the street for the bus

Quantitative data from tally charts:


The tally charts listed 12 items that could be shown on an interactive display at the bus shelters in town. For example, a Real-time image of the buses location, as well as a brief description for those who did not recognise the item title. I asked participants to list the items between 1 - 12, 1 being lowest in favour and 12 being the highest in favour. I issued the tally charts to a range of participants, including younger school kids and teens to older generations. There was a lack of middle aged participants due to the time of day (afternoon), meaning most would be at work.


Scored 12 (highest priority):

  • Route planning (2 participants gave this a score of 12)
  • Interactive game (2)
  • Suggested route alternatives (2)
  • Others which were given a score of 12 once included wifi, phone charger, nearby hospitals/local information and real-time bus map

Scored 11 (second to highest priority):

  • Suggested route alternatives (3)
  • Real-time bus map (2)
  • Wifi (2)
  • Others which were given a score of 11 once included traffic monitoring, twitter feed and phone charger

Scored 10 (third to highest priority):

  • Real-time image of bus (3)
  • Route planning (3)
  • Others which were given a score of 10 once included nearby hospitals/local information, habit tracking, wifi and phone charger

Scored 9 (third to highest priority):

  • Traffic monitoring (2)
  • Phone charger (2)

Scored 8 (fourth to highest priority):

  • News (local and UK) (4)
  • Real-time image of bus (2)

The quantitative data obtained from the tally charts allowed me to construct a top 5 list of items to be displayed on the interactive screen. Hardware components (such as wireless phone charger) were ignored as our focus remains solidly on the interactive display elements.

Top 5 in favour list:

  • 1. Route planning and suggested alternatives
  • 2. Real-time image of buses location
  • 3. Traffic monitoring
  • 4. News (local and UK)
  • 5. Nearby hospitals and local information

Informal Interviews:

I had a few conversations with school kids and elderly passengers waiting for the bus. Before the conversation, I ensured that the participants knew why I was undertaking the study as well as informing that the data received would remain anonymous.

Interestingly, my hypothesis that the younger generation would refer to a bus checker app for bus times and whereabouts was challenged. The kids were waiting for a town bus to take them home after school, using the bus daily. Due to the regularity of the service, they were reassured that the bus would arrive and didn't feel the need to use a bus checker. They did seem interested in viewing the bus in real-time.

I asked the younger participants how they feel when the bus doesn't show on time. One responded that he is usually reassured that a bus will show up eventually, but can become frustrated if he is waiting for a while without knowing how far away the bus is. I asked him what he would usually do in this situation. He answered by saying that he'd wait patiently, playing games like 'Best fiends' or 'Stack' on his phone. He did mention that if the bus was taking unusually long, he'd ask another bus driver where his bus is and call his parents.

Whilst chatting with a few elderly passengers waiting for the bus, I found that they refer to the paper timetables at the bus shelters which remain consistent most of the time. Similarly to the school kids, the elderly passengers knew that if a bus was late, one would turn up within the hour. They did feel anxious if the bus hadn't arrived on time. When I explained the tally sheet and each corresponding item, one passenger was particularly enthusiastic about suggested alternative routes and causes for bus disruption (traffic monitoring).


Although the quantitative data above gives clear identification of the top elements in favour to be displayed interactively, the results lack credibility due to the number of participants involved. Clare mentioned that her prior research also highlighted the need for traffic monitoring and route planning. After speaking with Clare and Adam, the data gathered matched their insights obtained from similar research. Therefore, I am not too worried about the lack of validity and feel reassured that users using bus shelters, whether that be in a town or city, will benefit from knowing where their bus is in real-time, why their bus has been disrupted (traffic monitoring), how they could find an alternative route (suggested route planning).

The informal conversations further identified the user's general need to know the whereabout of the bus, suggested route alternative and traffic monitoring. All participants agreed that some form of interesting information displayed (like news and social feeds) would make waiting for the bus less dull. The younger generations were enthusiastic about the involvement of an interactive game of sorts. However, since we are designing for all, our focus shall remain on the top 5 list of elements in favour of being displayed.

Notes from meeting Thursday 11 - May

Attendees: @adamsyno, @claremarshuwe, @katebrooks, @lemeeka, @dean and @kayne_goes

Adam and Katie discussing research insights found this week from field research
Clarifying the project thus far to all
Kate discussing quantitative data identifying a top 5 list of elements to display interactively 
Adam discussing insights gathered from field research
Everyone in agreement that focus should hone in on the real-time bus feature, traffic monitoring and suggested route alternatives
Discussing bus/traffic data and how to obtain
Clare mentioning that the Bristol API is flaky and that she has done a vast amount of research into this
Discussing other API and potential data mashups for the traffic monitoring and suggested route alternatives - BBC and Google API
Computing students (Lameeka, Kayne and Dean) shall look into data mashups further, evaluating ease of access, availability and consistency of data 
Moving forward:
Kate and Adam will prioritise the top 3 out of 5 mentioned in Kate's field research (being real-time visualisation of bus whereabouts, suggested route alternatives and traffic monitoring) and conduct further field research into these areas in order to saturate data. Once conducted, Kate and Adam will have a separate meeting with Clare to collaborate all research and solidify findings leading to informed design decisions. 
Clare will mock-up a set of wireframes in preparation for this meeting, allowing Kate Adam and Clare to deconstruct and rebuild conceptual wireframes based on a shared understanding of the product.
Lameeka, Dean and Kayne will conduct further research into other APIs giving real-time data on traffic, buses and suggested route alternatives
Kate and Adam will look at similar applications, in conjunction with Clare's competitor research, to gain an understanding of how effectively the data could visually communicate to a wide audience.
Next meeting scheduled Tuesday 16 6pm. 
Will let Dan know accordingly and await his availability.

Notes from meeting 16 May 6pm

Attendees: @adamsyno, @katebrooks and @lemeeka
Discussing Lameeka’s analysis of existing technologies in reference to Google APIs. 
Katie highlighting that the Distance Matrix API and Google Maps Directions API seem to meet the requirements of route planning and traffic monitoring. Lameeka explaining feasibility of the APIs and her 
next movements.
Katie and Adam confirming that the project outcome requires a prototype, not a full implementation of a bus shelter interactive display. Discussing that the presentation will involve 
the application working on a device and a conceptual mockup of the prototype in a bus shelter environment. 
Lameeka talking Katie and Adam through software design process which involves the analysis of technologies and gathering requirements. Lameeka agreeing to proceed with the requirements phase to 
pass over to Katie and Adam.
All in agreement that we need to meet up to collaborate ideas and research gathered. Date in mind is the 25th/26th May. Adam mentioning that we should meet in the evening with Clare. Awaiting Clare’s availability. 
Katie and Adam agreeing to complete field research (as stated in the previous notes) and conceptual mockups. Kate will carry out competitor research on applications of a similar theme (i.e. Waves). 
All agreeing that we may not need another virtual meeting as long as we meet on the 25th, pending attendee availability. 
Next meeting: 25/26th Bristol (pending availability)

Analysis of existing technologies - Google Maps APIs Source: https://developers.google.com/maps/web-services/
Name Description How can it be applied in Bus Shelter? Risks Priority
Distance Matrix Google API The Google Maps Distance Matrix API is a service that provides travel distance and time for a matrix of origins and destinations, based on the recommended route between start and end points.

Action : Requires API key.

[Focus Area: Route planning/Suggesting Alternatives]

Identifying current location(A) and putting final destination(B) to predict travel distance and time to user. Suitable for route planning

Feasibility of it for the implementation

Who will be able to use it at a given time? Bottleneck issues?

Google Maps Directions API The Google Maps Directions API is a service that calculates directions between locations. You can search for directions for several modes of transportation, including transit, driving, walking, or cycling.

Action : Requires API key.

[Focus Area: Route planning/Suggesting Alternatives & Traffic Monitoring]

This API focuses on: ‘Modes of Transport’ which allows planning of routes in various modes. ‘Waypoints’ allows you to calculate routes through additional locations ‘Travel time’ to estimate travel time based on historical and current traffic conditions

Identifying which area to focus on – all three areas? High
Google Maps Geocoding APIs Geocoding is the process of converting addresses (like a street address) into geographic coordinates (like latitude and longitude), which you can use to place markers on a map, or position the map.

Action : Requires API key.

[Focus Area: Route planning/Suggesting Alternatives]

Identifying bus shelters around Bristol and getting the coordinates for it for it to be viewed on the maps

Where can we get this data from?

Is it feasible to input every single bus stop long/lat in the map? Maybe just one for the prototype? How can we consider the Hong Kong bus stops?

Google Places API Search Service allows you to query for place information on a variety of categories, such as: establishments, prominent points of interest, geographic locations, and more. Allows users waiting in bus shelters to look for nearby attractions and restaurants Do we need this? People can do this from phone? (Does not relate to any focus areas)

Maybe for future work/ additional features?

Google Maps Geolocation APIs The Google Maps Geolocation API returns a location and accuracy radius based on information about cell towers and WiFi nodes that the mobile client can detect. [Focus Area: Real time bus locations] The client is ‘Mobile’ so will it be feasible for our application? Low

Adam Symonds Further Research (Qualitative Research Completed on 20/05/2017)

Following on from our initial research, we decided to focus on real-time maps, travel disruptions, and smart routing that suggests quicker routes for travellers. With this in mind we wanted to uncover what real users thought about these three key areas, and my results are as follows:

User 1:

  • Loves the real-time map idea
  • States that old users may struggle to use it so the whole system would need to be super easy to use

User 2:

  • Great ideas – they might make people a little more chilled if they can see where the bus really is
  • Would be really helpful knowing why the bus is late so that you could judge and plan alternative transport around it
  • Would need to make sure the real-time info is updated all the time so that people have faith in it
  • Would need to be accessible to cater for all users

User 3:

  • Alternative routes could help to encourage people to become active and exercise
  • Knowing why a bus is late allows people to make more calculated travel decisions
  • How is this information presented to deaf/blind people?

User 4:

  • Alternative routes would need to be clear so that people don’t get lost
  • Back-up energy supply in case of any power cuts?
  • Could include information about tickets and different bus services such as first and Wessex
  • A way to link to mobile devices so that you could see where the bus is from at home?

User 5:

  • Real-time map would make it easier to plan travel
  • It would need to be a free service as I personally wouldn’t want to pay for it
  • Some form of seating availability would be helpful to avoid peak times – this could also benefit wheelchair users and those with buggies
  • Would need to include all public bus companies