The application and development of inclusive service design in the context of a bus service

2014-11-19T12:47:03Z (GMT) by Carlos Aceves-Gonzalez
This thesis investigates the design of inclusive services by integrating theory and approaches from the domains of Service Design and Inclusive Design. This integration was used to evaluate bus service use by younger and older people and the role of other stakeholders. The research was carried out through the case study of the bus service in Guadalajara, Mexico. As a result of this research, an inclusive service design approach and a tool are proposed to guide the design of inclusive services. Using an inclusive service design approach led to the application of a mixed methodology for data collection, which included: 1) a series of individual and group interviews with stakeholders as well as a document analysis; 2) structured focus groups with younger and older people; 3) observation of younger and older passengers using the service; and 4) accompanied journeys with older people. Data were analysed using both qualitative and quantitative techniques, and the results facilitated 1) the understanding of the service operation; 2) the identification of the main barriers for interaction with the service along a door-to-door journey; and 3) the determination of the gap between what younger and older users need and desire and what bus operators actually provide. The research then focussed on visualising and communicating the findings to stakeholders. An inclusive service blueprint was developed to graphically represent the level of difficulty in using the service by younger and older people across the door-to-door journey, and to highlight areas for service improvements. A final study was undertaken to assess the usefulness of the inclusive service approach and the blueprint in improving the bus service. Collectively, the findings indicate that integrating inclusive principles along with a Service Design approach provided several benefits in investigating and improving the bus service. The uniqueness of data generated by younger and older users and the understanding of inclusive principles by the stakeholders already shows the potential to lead to a more inclusive service given the activities now happening in Guadalajara. This research contributes to the discussion of how the design of services can evolve through the incorporation of inclusive principles in the design process. Whilst the research was undertaken in the context of the bus service in Guadalajara, the approach and some outcomes from this research may be applicable for designing inclusive services in other contexts around the world.