Design and Ride

  • 2022

  • Digital

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

Kapiti District Council

Designed In:

New Zealand

Design And Ride is an engaging way for the community to get involved in the layout of their own roads. In this experience, community members create a new road design, then experience it as a cyclist – in virtual reality – and send feedback to their local council or urban planners.

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  • Urban planning usually operates from the top down. City and district authorities plan, build and manage infrastructure, including transport. Despite public outreach, many local authorities struggle to get substantive public engagement in civic planning and it is difficult to enable community members to offer meaningful direction. Road safety and accessibility for cyclists are either ignored or become hotly contested by a minority of the community. Design And Ride is an innovative approach and a world first that delivers the ability to engage community members in meaningful decision-making around cycleway design and urban planning, using an embodied, participatory approach.

  • Members of the public are able to design a cycleway for their community on an iPad, and then test the design by riding down a 3D generated version of their road on a physical bike connected to a virtual reality headset. The experience highlights cyclist safety while keeping pedestrians and drivers in mind too. Community members can then rate their design based on the quality of their ride and forward this design and feedback to the city council. The experience is designed to be simple to navigate. It resets itself automatically once the user rates their design.

  • Data collected from the initial run of Design And Ride suggests it increases community engagement in civic planning, and has improved communication between urban planners and the community about street design initiatives. Looking to the future, Design And Ride can be easily customised to any street or city environment. This means it can enable city-dwellers to see the impact of different transport options, including greater use of public transport, increased cycleways and decreased availability of parking. Small towns can assess practical ways to make cycling safer or look at the effect of adding traffic lights and roundabouts to their roading.

  • World first Design and Ride combines existing technologies - VR, bike trainer, wifi enabled tablet - in an innovative way, creating a highly engaging experience around an issue that usually attracts little public attention. Scaffolded design for effective planning Design and Ride combines embodied learning with VR. This increases community members’ ability to comprehend complex information and enables them to better understand how roads are utilised by a variety of users. They can then deliver better-informed suggestions to city authorities and urban planners, ensuring that street planning is effective and well-considered from multiple user-perspectives. Accessibility The experience is designed to be as simple and intuitive as possible for a user to navigate - iPad prompts take users from the start of design through the VR experience to submission of their design suggestions and automatically resets. Design And Ride is also available on the web as an interactive 3D simulation, which allows participants to design roads for their communities if they're unable to be there physically. The data is automatically collated digitally and sent to the same repository for easy analysis by planners. You can experience this here: