Timely Trolley

Figure 1. Tech Trolley


Throughout the entire time we took notes, I noticed that there was always a line of students waiting for the Trolley- even if it had just left. Those that are trying to get to class as quickly as possible are faced with the decision of walking all the way to their class or waiting for the Trolley. This decision making process would be benefitted by knowing how long it would take for the next Trolley to arrive. With the help of a voice-directed interface that announces the time estimated for the next Trolley to arrive, students may save some time by knowing this information. Somebody that is counting on arriving to their destination in 10 minutes cannot afford waiting for a Trolley that is going to take 15 minutes to arrive.

Ideally, the voice-directed interface would carry a deep, relaxed, and medium speech rate voice. It is best to have an interface that will speak to the user because simple sounds will not convey the message properly. With Siri, a female voice, being the most prominent interface today, I think it would be a good idea to have a male interface. The voice should be relaxed because being around all of the traffic and waking up early to get to class can be stressful and if the voice sounds relaxed then we might remember to relax a bit too. The relaxed voice wouldn’t match the surroundings-which suggests inconsistency. Although the authors of Wired for Speech made it clear that people don’t appreciate inconsistency, I think we would all benefit from a “disembodied” someone that isn’t overly frantic. A relaxed voice is better than an upbeat voice because the user may be in a bad mood and might be angered by the happiness of the interface. Additionally, a medium speech rate is optimal for the interface because the users need to be able to understand what the voice is saying without being irritated by excessively slow speech.

Time is extremely important- and that’s something we can all agree on. This Timely Trolley would help us students save valuable sleep time and increase the efficiency of the intersection.

The ambience of the intersection at night

Since my major is business, I walk through intersection of 5th Street every day.  This intersection is very busy; people on the street leave sounds such as constant foam shattering and running to distant places. The sounds that we couldn’t hear in the bright light, when it comes to dark night, became wave running on the road. Cars make the sounds of wave, and it seems to blank out any other thoughts.

However, one possible inconvenience is that currently there is no interface for visually impaired people in the intersection of 5th Street. Along with signalization, other improvements should be considered to increase the safety of the intersection. We can improve our current interface of the intersection by implementing voice directed-interface. For example, “Male voice” sound indicates that the “walk” symbol is on and the pedestrian has the right-of-way in the north/south direction. On the other hand, “Female voice” sound indicates that the pedestrian has the right-of-way in the east/west direction. The voice should be in audible tone and verbal speech messages. Both male voice and female voice should be recorded voices instead of synthetic voice, because humanlike interface with recorded voices are more appealing, comfortable, and neutral to hear than synthetic voices. In addition, the sounds and tones should be automatically adjusted to ambient sound levels.  During rush hours, where ambient sound volume levels are higher, the sound will be automatically adjusted and will be louder.  During the off-peak hours they will be dropped to lower volume level.  Considering noise problem, between 30dB-80dB is suitable. Blind pedestrians may not be aware that there is a pushbutton and may not be able to locate it. So they should carry the receiver or smartphone app that can substitute pushbutton.




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