During the Australian Design Award’s, Anton Grimes from the University of New South Wales developed a “Link Scooter System” which is designed as a modular transport solution that can be retrofitted to existing Streetscape Smart Poles. It allows users to hire a small lightweight electronic scooter from a hub and ride to the desired destination and then return the scooter to another hub, where it is recharged. The use of existing light poles reduces the cost of the unit and provides strong anchors that carry both telecommunications and power to the hub. The device was designed to suit the Sydney 2030 plan to reduce cars in the CBD and make the city more pedestrian oriented.
While the concept of a transport hire system is not new, the scale and vehicle type make this project unique and appropriate for smaller distance travel in built-up and denser environments. The single pull release mechanism makes folding out the scooter quicker and easier than an existing razor scooter.
The finish for most of the design components is brushed Aluminum to make it consistent with the existing street furniture, the releases and parts that need to be interacted with are highlighted in yellow. The use of chamfered edges and more deliberate break lines emphasises the use of the product and its robust nature.
The simple layout and foot-control pedal of the scooter make the device simple and easy to hire, use and then return. One of the most important issues explored during the research phase was the concept of trip-chaining. Trip chaining is the process an individual goes through to link a series of tasks or locations in order meet their own independent needs. Current public transport solutions in the city of Sydney are unable to provide independent transport options on demand to suit the wide variety of needs.
Quality and Manufacture
The scooters and hubs are constructed from a series of robust Aluminium castings and pressing. These parts house polycarbonate and ABS mouldings which form the physical interface such as the scooter release and power indicator. This makes the construction of the scooter and hub robust enough to survive in a street environment.
The finish of both hub and scooter is brushed aluminum. This finish makes the devices suit both the street furniture that they are placed next to and makes them easier to clean and maintain.
Human Factors: Ergonomics, Semantics and Safety
The process for hiring a scooter is simple, by following the instructions on the soft interface. The mechanical releases on the scooter are clearly indicated with universal graphics on each to show their function.
The speed of the scooter is limited to 16km/h and the user is issued with a helmet that they must wear when they register to use the system. Users are required to comply with existing cycling and road rules.
With increasing demand on an already over-stretched transport infrastructure it makes sense to shift the way that we move, by taking up less space per individual while in transit. The energy required to move the individual is also greatly reduced by reducing the size and weight of the vehicle.
The device also removes direct emissions away from the city and with the addition of environmentally sustainable power generation off-site, the device has the potential to have no net emissions.
The product uses primarily Aluminum in both the scooter and the hub. While being more energy intensive than several other possible materials, it provides the most appropriate weight and strength properties to make the parts withstand day to day use or neglect on the street. The parts can be cleanly mechanically separated in order to recover the material for re-use.