Being mobile is a crucial factor for taking part in society and living an autonomous live. Nevertheless, the demographic change, more sparse infrastructures and an tendency to move to more urban areas challenges people’s ability to maintain their personal everyday mobility options.
One group in society that is especially affected by these challenges are the elderly. While we do not claim that the elderly in general present a homogenous group, but instead represent a very heterogenous group with very different social backgrounds and individual experiences, they do have experienced various changes in their lives, such as retiring and changes in their financial situations as well as physical condition. These experiences made them reflect their current situations as well as anticipate future changes. Thus, working with older adults in order to understand how they decide on adapting to changes in their mobility is very promising.
This work, therefor, focusses on how the adoption of transportation opportunities for individual everyday mobility can be supported by using information and communication technologies (ICT). Based on empirical studies with older adults that were carried out in three consecutive Design Case Studies (DCS) in a larger living lab context, we present practice-based insights on how different means of transportation are seen from a user’s perspective.
The first DCS represents an empirical framing of this thesis. The findings of that DCS show that the supporting the appropriation of different modes is highly individual, needs contextual adaptations and needs to take into account, that different modes of transportation do not fit all situations encountered by people. Considering this, the second DCS shows exemplary how ridesharing concepts could be altered to make them more suitable for everyday contexts. Specifically, the flexibility that our participants value during their everyday mobility needs to be preserved when engaging in ridesharing. The third DCS presents derives the technological implications from the preceding DCSs and validate the technological feasibility of the proposed ICT-based concept for everyday ridesharing support. The findings highlight that a suitable support for everyday mobility should take into account far more than logistical factors, which play in important role but are highly influenced by routines and therefor presents only little opportunities to be changed. Instead, contextual information that can be derived from the activities that induce the transportation as well as personal meaningful historical information, such as informal naming, known landmarks or typical routes and routines provide opportunities to highlight the suitability of alternatives modes of transportation.
In addition, this work also presents a critical reflection of the methods used, especially looking at the role of users in defining the problem and the design space of ICT-based solutions.