Consider and evaluate user needs when designing communication infrastructure.
Experience from the smart parking field test at the Rockridge, Oakland BART station.
- Install CMSs on all nearby, popular commute routes with access to the transit station. The changeable message signs (CMSs) were located on Highway 24 in Oakland. The signs displayed two alternating messages: 1) the number of parking spaces available at the BART station, and 2) static directions to the station from the highway. While project managers believed the signs to be instrumental in encouraging drivers to participate in the field test, results from the focus groups and surveys indicated that signs were underused. Participants raised two issues: 1) the signs were not located on their commute route, and 2) the information on the signs was not descriptive enough. Increasing public outreach would help to clear confusion regarding the purpose of the information displayed on the CMSs.
- Increase lot signage, including signs in Spanish, to help travelers find smart parking spaces. Fixed station and wayfinding signs to the smart parking service were installed on local streets leading up to and at the parking site. While the signs provided users with directions and information on how to access the smart parking site, participants noted that better fixed signage indicating which parking spaces were designated as smart parking spaces would have been helpful. Furthermore, providing fixed signage in Spanish or additional languages would be beneficial for diverse populations.
- Ensure that the website and IVR system communications are user friendly and intuitive. The smart parking field test participants had the option to make parking reservations through an online reservation system or a telephone Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Users expressed greater satisfaction with the online system versus the IVR system. However, users believed that both systems could be improved by designing more user-friendly systems.
- The process for creating an account should be simple,
- A parking reservation reminder sent to a mobile phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) would be helpful.
- Repeat and confirm information,
- Understand verbal commands in noisy environments,
- Include multiple language options.
- Provide a touchtone option for users having difficulty with the voice recognition, and
- A courtesy phone or kiosk should be provided nearby the parking lot for those travelers without a mobile phone.
- In regards to the online reservation system, users noted that:
In regards to the IVR system, users noted that a successful IVR system should:
Author: Susan Shaheen and Charlene Kemmerer
Published By: Transportation Research Board
Source Date: 1 August 2007URL: http://pubs.its.ucdavis.edu/download_pdf.php?id=1095
RITA/Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
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