Designing For A More Comfortable & Familiar Public Transit

Role: Visual Designer | Interaction Designer


How might we make people more comfortable on unfamiliar public transportation journeys?



Identify a design opportunity by researching the future of smart cities. We designed to promote public transportation usage.


10 Weeks


Deliverables & Methods

High-fidelity Interactive Prototype, User Interface Flow, UI Kit, Research Report, Ethnographic Research, Visual System


Eclair Junchaya, Hy Nguyen


Designing a friendly public transportation app that makes
riders feel connected and comfortable along their journey


cozie way

Riders will select their route from navigation cards. The routes that are shown are the ones that have been rated by a high percentage of other cozie riders.


cozie up

Whether it’s the support system of family and friends or the collective recommendations of others, cozie makes it easier for riders to trust whatever trip they’re about to embark on.

cozie claps

At the end of each trip, riders are prompted to tap on the screen to leave a “cozie clap” if they enjoyed the journey. This feeds into the route recommendation system.

cozie spot.png

cozie stops

 Cozie generates suggestions that are either open late or are open 24 hours. This helps encourage you to learn more about your surroundings and make unexplored places inviting.



After researching, designing, and testing solutions, we created a product specification to address the rising use of public transportation and cities becoming more connected.

To fully figure out the potential future of public transportation in smart cities from a human perspective, we examined what public transit is like in today’s world.


Public transportation is the future


As cities become smarter and population rises, we are seeing an increase in the use of public transportation.

“The rise of the Internet of Things and the essential role that vehicles play as nodes in that network, and a transition away from achieving mobility through asset (car) ownership and toward accessing mobility as a service.”

– The U.S. Department of Transportation, on how increased public transit usage would achieve a more connected urban future

After doing a detailed literature review we saw that public transport has the potential to create a positive impact to underdeveloped areas by reducing car ownership and energy consumptions. Although the benefits are clear the majority of urban studies show that perceptions of safety prevent citizens from using public transport as a main mode of travel.

We decided to pursue ways to improve people’s perception of public transportation to promote increased usage. 



Observing Our Audience & Behaviors

We observed riders who used public transport during the day and evening to see how they reacted to their surroundings on their journeys.

We noticed that our the riders showed some small micro behaviors in response to the presence of one or two individuals in close proximity seemed to be more alarming than in moments of complete isolation.

They were also more alert of their surroundings during the night routes in comparison to the day routes when they seemed to be less alert.


Exploring Concepts

After reviewing our observations and interviewees, we began to explore concepts that would offer reassure our riders instead of making people more afraid and less secure . The main objective was to create ones that would facilitate riders when feeling safe at transit stops, and help with finding areas nearby with better lighting conditions.


Storyboarding Our Scenarios

After exploring our different concepts, our participants created a clear narrative that they use a combination of applications that help them coordinate their transportation needs on any given day.  Given that the combination offered them the feeling of “knowing” where they were going. We created a storyboard to represent the idea we wanted to test and then set out to prototype the concept back in the wild.

Concept Illustrations by Eclair Junchaya


Testing and Refining

We tested our prototypes with 12 participants and asked them to let us know their thoughts and immediate reactions.

After some further informal interview questions, we discovered that the scope of experience we looked at was needed to shift.

We listened closely and began to move away from "feeling safe" focus.


Listening To The Riders & Shifting Gears


"I generally feel safe on the bus" – P1

"The bus driver has a responsibility to be vigilant, and I normally feel safe" – P2

"Have not felt unsafe on the bus before, & I am a night sift nurse so I ride the bus a lot" – P3

12 participants revealed that overall the public transit experience had less to do with feeling "safe" than it did with feeling familiar or comfortable with unexpected bus transfers and new areas. 

Listening to the riders we began to make principles to keep in mind while making our design.


Design Principles

After testing and feed back I helped my team craft principles that best reflected our rider's journey, and the areas that arose from our testing.

It should look friendly, inviting, & personable

Experience that covers the "whole" journey

Information should be personal and helpful at a glance


I created an identity and language that would be a companion to your journey.

The cozie character originally made its debut on a few post it notes, and eventually after many iterations I landed on the characters seen above . It became apparent that the riders had preconceptions of how public transportation applications looked and felt.  We examined the impersonal aspects of the available applications. I began crafting the personable component to our language, based on these impersonal aspects. 

User Interface & Flow

The objective of the interface was to keep the app friendly and unique to the riders atmosphere. This was accomplished through the use of reachability, playful colors, rich content, and the quirky playful cozie character as your avatar

I emphasized the fun and friendly tone for our interaction models. Even though cozie has not yet been developed, our UI specification is designed to build out a more fully function prototype in the future.



For More Details

View our UI Spec



As the team walked away from this project, we identified a few crucial things to keep in mind.

Always be ready for a moment of surprise: You always need to be ready to adapt to any change that may arise while developing any product, no matter how late in the process.

There can always be more testing: Always test everything, this was by far the best thing I did, and am looking to continue to do with this project. Testing will generate new insights that could change the way you see your own challenge but add to the MVP.

It is perfectly okay to not be the first at something:  Adding something new to any product space at first seems easy, but you find out that most ideas out there are trying to do the same. It takes iteration and testing to be able to look at things through a different lense that can help create something original.

Last but not least, teamwork: Without teamwork and strong communication, you won't be able to do much. My team always made time for us to bond, as well as work. Through this formula I led my team to a stronger dynamic and made our entire process efficient and confidently make desicions along the way.