Tackling Societal Challenges With A Simple Tool
Updated: May 15, 2020
In today's world, we face no shortage of challenges. Governments are strapped for money, public health crises are growing, social tension is leading to conflict, and our living environments are getting more crowded and polluted. We need to find a way to address these challenges and we cannot sacrifice the standard of living and quality of life that we are all working so hard to reach. This is not at easy task, and we only have finite resources.
There is a simple yet vastly underutilized tool that is already sitting right in front of us: the bicycle. If we can get everyday people on bicycles, we improve social interaction and public health, make our cities more livable, and work towards economic and environmental sustainability.
There are over a billion bicycles in the world, but in too many places it is challenging, inconvenient, and uncomfortable to ride a bike. In order to get people from all walks of life to ride bikes and for our society to reap the benefits, we need to make riding a bike an attractive, comfortable and convenient way to get around. We need to dive in deep and study people of all ages and backgrounds to fit the bike into their lives.
Designing a Bicycle User Experience (BUX) is here to address this. The BUX approach to street design applies user experience to urban planning to methodologically design for how everyday people feel while riding a bike. It employs human-centered design methods- replacing "users" with everyday people and "product" with the experience that they have riding a bike on the street. It is a creative yet practical way to make an environment where people from all walks of life choose to ride a bike.
While growing economic instability, social conflict, and environmental degradation is challenging, we can work towards solving these problems concurrently with a simple tool: the bicycle. By getting people of all ages and backgrounds to ride a bike, we can make our cities and towns more healthy, social, clean, and economically sound. We can improve our quality of life and create a livable environment for our children. It starts with studying people.