My team’s design prompt for Challenge #4 was, “How might we design a mobility strategy to alleviate traffic and car dependency in the West Village EcoDistrict?”

We started our challenge by defining what mobility means to West Village residents. We learned that mobility choices, like whether you will bike or drive to work, are highly influenced by how comfortable residents feel in their own neighborhood. Moving to Detroit was the first time I’ve relied on my car as my primary means of transportation. In an unfamiliar city I understand the desire to not venture outside of your comfort zone. As part of our empathy stage in the design thinking process our team decided to take the bus to a meeting we had downtown with the city. Unaware of the bus pass system, we dug deep into our pockets for change. We also had a lot of help from our fellow bus riders on which routes to take.

In Boston I relied on the 1 bus to take me across the bridge from Boston to class in Cambridge each day. Seeing people in different stages of life as a student was often a welcome relief. Getting on the bus in Detroit reminded me once again of the benefits of taking public transit for getting outside of your own bubble. Although navigating the bus routes in Detroit was difficult, it was a valuable experience that shaped our team’s recommendations at the end of the challenge. I highly recommend everyone try riding the bus, not only for the ecological benefit, but also for yourself!