The Design Of Bus Reservation System For The Transportation Vulnerable

Kim Ki Won, Ko Young-jun1, Kim Jong-bae2

Seoul National University of Science and Technology1

Yonsei University2


This study suggests a bus reservation system for users vulnerable to transportation including wheelchair users, blind people, and senior citizens. For the study, first, we analyzed preceding studies and cases. Second, we conducted shadowing of wheelchair users, a visually impaired person, and a senior and derived problems and requirements for existing bus services. Third, personas and user scenarios were created based on previously investigated data. Fourth, through a co-creation workshop of stakeholders of bus service including a wheelchair user, a blind user, a bus driver and designers, design ideas were generated. Finally, from the design ideas generated in the workshop, design concepts and a prototype were produced. A device in the proposed bus reservation system installed at pillars of a bus shelter allows the transportation vulnerable to reserve bus ride to bus driver.

BackGround & Purpose

Bus should be readily available to everyone, but it is still inconvenient for the transportation vulnerable. In response, Korean government has pushed for institutional improvement such as enforcement of the “Act on the Promotion of Transportation” and provision of Low-floor Bus, but the frequency of bus usage by the vulnerable is still low. This study aims at suggesting a bus reservation system allowing traffic vulnerable to make appointment of bus boarding to bus driver through a device installed on pillars of a bus shelter.


For the research, first, we analyzed preceding studies and cases. Second, to identify problems and requirements on existing bus services we conducted shadowing of two wheelchair users, a visually impaired person and a senior citizen who were the most vulnerable to transportation. Third, based on shadowing result, we created a scenario of using the bus reservation system. Fourth, the co-creation workshop was held to clarify ideas presented in the scenario. Fifth, the design guidelines for the bus reservation system  was derived by compiling the previous findings. Finally, a prototype was made based on the content presented in the guidelines.

Analysis of Preceding Study and Cases

User Journey Map
User type Wheelchair user
Customer Experience Journey
Explore information - arrival by bus station - waiting for the bus – boarding - bus departure – bus stop – get off the bus
Action & Emotional Response
Arrival by bus station
·	Where there is no place designated for a wheelchair waiting position, the stop position must be estimated and wait for the back rest position.
·	Wheelchair users of the bus by the bus stop after crossing the wheelchair users should go back to its position.
Waiting for the bus
·	When the bus driver does not help, he gets help from the surrounding people by raising the lift.
·	Wait after you wait, sir. Will you fix it? And approached a wheelchair user
·	Seat belt no fastened after wheelchair retention. Seat belt location is installed on rear of wheelchair user seat, not available alone.
Bus departure
·	During the bus movement, the wheel of the wheelchair shook.
·	The wheelchair wheels have come loose from stationary politics.
·	Hold the handle and move
Bus stop & get off the bus
·	It was hard to get the height difference between the slope of the bus and the sidewalk block.
·	Get help from the passengers.
·	Get off the bus.
Pain point
·	Stand by the bus position and wait for the back door. But the bus is passing by.
·	The bus driver does not help to board the car.
·	The bus was about to leave without holding a wheelchair. I felt uneasy.
·	I only fixed the wheelchair and did not wear a seatbelt. I almost fell when the bus stopped suddenly. So I held the handle by force.
·	The wheelchair has been lifted from the anchorage. I was embarrassed.
·	The structure of the handle is inconvenient.
·	There was a high inclination of the inclination plate on the bus.
·	I could not get off the bus alone
Ideas to improve
·	Make sure that the wheelchair user can easily ride the bus. Install the notice unit.
·	The bus driver needs to know before boarding the car. Boarding notification systems are required.
·	The bus driver should be educated about the service
·	Bus drivers should know the slope of the bus
·	The shape of the handle must be changed. (parallel handle)
·	Changes to wheelchair retention devices are required. Periodic checks are required.
·	The bus driver should know the slope of the slope. Must be displayed on the instrument panel cluster.
Figure 1: Customer journey map
Among applications developed to facilitate bus service in Korea and overseas, Seoul Bus App. is one that allows the transportation vulnerable to reserve a bus, send messages of boarding, and guide bus access. However, the service is not well received from the transportation vulnerable due to lack of information such as guiding the visually impaired physical access to a bus shelter. Departures NYC, ' developed in the U.S., is an augmented reality based bus app that shows the nearest bus stop through augmented reality technology and provides bus and traffic information in real time as well as station information. However, the actual service to boarding is not provided, so it is not very helpful for the vulnerable.


The subjects observed in the shadowing were two wheelchair users, one elderly person and one blind person. The shadowing covered information exploration, waiting a bus, boarding it, moving by it, preparing to get off it, and exit from the bus stop.

The result visualized in a customer journey map showed problems in accessing to the bus stop, locating it, and recognizing voice guidance due to ambient noise near the bus stop, and finding the location of the bus boarding.

Table 1: Major findings from shadowing

Bus Users


Wheelchair users

  • Delay in bus operation due to installation of ramp, concession of designated seat secured for wheelchairs etc.
  • Wheelchair users felt discomfort from the bus users when boarding the bus
  • Personnel support required to secure a wheelchair after riding the bus

Blind user

  • Unable to recognize voice guidance from bus information system (BIS) due to ambient noise
  • Unable to recognize the location of the bus when buses arrive

New Service Scenario

GPS-based voice guidance
Beacon-based voice, directional guidance
Figure 2: Service scenario
Reflecting findings from shadowing, following new service scenario that includes from finding bus stops to boarding the bus was suggested.

  1. Find a bus stop: GPS based voice information guides the visually impaired to get to a bus stop where the reservation device is located.
  2. Bus Reservation: Reserve the bus through the device installed at the bus stop.
  3. Transfer reservation information: When boarding is reserved, the information is passed along to the bus driver.
  4. Bus arrival information transmission : The bus stop access and arrival notification for the reserved bus are displayed on the bus information system (BIS) display installed within the bus stop and is also guided by voice.
  5. Bus Arrival and Entry: When the bus arrives at the designated stop, the speaker attached to the outside of the bus guides transportation vulnerable to get on.

Co-Creation Workshop

To clarify ideas presented in the scenario, Co-creation workshop was held. Participants in the workshop included a blind, two wheelchair users, a bus driver, and designers. In the workshop, input method of push keypad rather than that of touch screen was suggested considering the use of the blind. Before the boarding of transportation vulnerable, the idea of announcing their boarding of the bus to the existing passengers and asking seat yield to them was proposed.

Design guidelines

For Wheelchair users
Within 800mm  of the floor surface

For Blind user
Within 1200mm  of the floor surface
Figure 3: Bus reservation system components
Synthesizing the result of the workshop, followings were deducted.

  1. The bus reservation device is installed on two columns on each side of the bus stop shelter considering the heights of wheelchair user and the blind (the device for the blind person is installed at 1,200 mm from the floor and the one for wheelchair users is installed at 800 mm from the floor.
  2. The bus reservation device includes buttons of choosing the type of disability, bus number selection, confirmation and cancellation functions.
  3. The device also includes buttons to select disability type, which allows transportation vulnerable to notify the bus driver of their type of disability in advance so that the driver can prepare bus boarding of them. These buttons have different shapes (Circle: wheelchair user. Triangle: the blind).
  4. After making a reservation, current location of the reserved bus is informed by voice so that the person reserved the bus can estimate the waiting time and wait.
  5. When the reserved bus approaches, the bus reservation device informs the number of approaching bus through a built-in speaker.


·	Screen output based on input
·	Voice feedback
·	Voice guidance for the use of earphones for the blind
·	Voice guidance for reserved bus locations
·	Wi-Fi provided
·	Select Bus User Type 
·	Bus number / Modify / Cancel / OK button
·	Emergency Call Button
·	Earphones insertion terminal
·	Speakers for voice guidance
Figure 4: The mock-up of a device installed on pillars of a bus shelter
Based on the design guidelines, a prototype was developed. To make a prototype, first, a CAD model was produced reflecting ergonomic measurements and user characteristics. Then, an actual scale mock-up was produced to check its usability and appearance.


This research suggested bus-ride reservation system design developed through user shadowing and co-creation workshop etc. Proposed bus reservation system enables the transportation vulnerable to reserve bus by passing along the information to the bus driver. It also makes it possible to give pre-notice to existing passengers in the bus before the transportation vulnerable user ride.

The device of the system installed on the pillar of a bus shelter includes a display, disability type selecting button, numeric buttons, a 119 button for emergency use, and a speaker informing the approaching of reserved bus.


Shin Hongjae, Ko Youngjun, (2009). A Case Study of U-IT Technology Application for Improving Accessibility for Social Vulnerable People at Traffic Facility. Korean Society of Design Science

Korea Railroad Research Institute, (2013). Development of Core Technology for Public Transportation Smart Mobility.

Intelligent Transportation Society Singapore. www.itssingapore.org.sg.

IDC Research Inc., www.idc.com

No Juhwan, (2011). UX DESIGN designing everything user experience, Seoul: Mentos

The Korea Transport Institute basic report, (2011). A plan to construct future transportation service based on smart mobility

Article 2 (definition) of improving act of transportation convenience of traffic vulnerable users

Kim Minsung, (2009). Improvements of Transportation Environment for The Mobility Handicapped, Wonkwang University

Moon Changgeun, Hwang Junghoon, Kim Gapsu, (2009). A Study on Travel Characteristics and Travel Behavior of Traffic a weak, Korean Society of Transportation