In December of 2016, Elon Musk founded The Boring Company, an infrastructure and tunnel company that wanted to revolutionize how we travel across our cities. In the summer of 2018, I wanted to imagine how cities commuter's would interact with this new mode of transit.
With the growth of cities, congestion has become an unavoidable problem. Traffic jams, bumper-to-bumper, rush hour. We've come up with ways to describe the time-sucking experience but have found few ways to alleviate the problem. Not only is this wasting people's time, with the average American spending 2.5 weeks a year in traffic, but the idling cars also contribute a whopping 20% to carbon emissions each year. Enabling public commuting across a city like LA reliably in a matter of minutes could cut down on congestion, pollution, and could even eliminate the concept of rush hour altogether.
That possible future might not be that far off. In 2016, Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla fame started another company, The Boring Company. This company drills holes incredibly efficiently under cities to enable the next generation of public transportation. And we're not only talking subways and light-rail, but also personal car transportation. As an excuse to try out Invision Studio's motion capabilities, I spent a Lab Friday at my job imagining how this future might work and how commuters might interact with this experience.
I imagined the different ways we could leverage this system to maximize usage and profitability. With the cost of a ride being "less than a bus ticket", I knew that it was akin to a bus or subway, with many people getting on, but also like Uber Pool where there are several stops along the way, dropping people off as you continue down the path.
Taking the subway metaphor a bit further, there could be Express cars that bypass this stop and go flow for more direct trips to city hubs and attractions, like a sporting center. Swinging the other direction, I thought there could be a way to call a smaller car on demand to come and pick you up and take you directly to your destination, without taking on more passengers. To accommodate the larger public, this option would be disabled in the event of heavy demand.
Lines that take you from one large hub to another. No stopping along the way, direct service. Similar to a subway.
Get on and get off wherever you want, takes longer but is the cheapest option.
The most expensive option; this allows you to hop on a dedicated car and zip across the city in minutes, dropping you off at your destination. This feature would be disabled during high traffic and demand times and these cars could be co-opted into the Express and Pool lanes when needed.
This takes your car and turns it into a transport. Transporting cars and people takes the paradigms we've been exploring and adds a unique approach to it. Now you have to be able to use this app while driving, with a different way to get into the system than the normal station model. The approach here would be similar to a google maps implementation, where we combine both on street navigation to a nearby spot, and initiating the transport to another spot in the city.
One element I hadn't yet seen in the videos was the need for a light indicator on the parking spots to let people know when to pull forward onto and off of the platform. This indicator could be implemented in the app, physically on the parking structure itself, or ideally on both.
This whole project actually came out of a work initiative. I wanted to explore all of the different prototyping and design tools out there and codify the best tools for each job. Motion design is an unavoidable element in my industry, and the static comps from Sketch just aren't cutting it anymore, so I set out to test each one with a similar design to find the best and worst of each.
I didn't just want to animate any old design though. I wanted to use this opportunity to explore some more app design. After mocking up a shopping app and a travel app I abandoned them for this project. In the coming weeks I'll be going through InVision Studio, Webflow, Sketch, After Effects, and Adobe XD and animating portions of this application. In the end I hope to have a better understanding of when to use certain apps to accomplish the desired animations and motion studies. As those get completed, I will post them here.
Even though we're in the middle of a pandemic, I'm (thankfully) still working full-time, devoting time to other projects, and spending quality time with my family. I will be working on this over time. If you're interested in seeing things as they progress, sign up below and I'll do my best to keep you updated.