Designing Dhaka’s Bus Infostructure

Designing Dhaka’s Bus Infostructure was the winning recipient of the 2013 Design Ignites Change | AIGA Professional Fellowship.

Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh

About the project
For 2 years, Urban Launchpada social venture comprised of engineers, designers and change-makers dedicated to seeding and scaling urban data experiments—has been working in Dhaka to develop a low-cost strategy for collecting data about the local bus system. They've armed teams of volunteers with a smartphone app, which tracks bus rides and enables surveying of other riders. While this information could be useful to the city and bus companies, who have no organized system for understanding the informal network, their real goal is to provide information directly to local citizens. To date, they have launched an alpha version of a paper bus map and now plan to expand this project to the design of a full suite of information products about buses.

Urban Launchpad seeks answers to the follow question: How do citizens receive and interpret real-time bus information in the midst of Dhaka’s chaotic street scene? While smartphone penetration is increasing, it’s nowhere near the rates we see in developed countries. Information needs to be available in formats on the ground for both on- and off-line consumption.

Next steps
Urban Launchpad aims to design a comprehensive transit info system that could include bus stop signage, directional signage, real-time data displays, large format route maps and even decals for buses. Their goal is to transform the bus data they've collected into something useful to riders every day, building off of their recently launched paper map.

Stephen Kennedy of Urban Launchpad was selected as the 2013 Design Ignites Change | AIGA Fellow for this project. As a recipient of the Fellowship, Kennedy will receive seed funding as well as professional guidance and mentoring on how to turn the concept into reality, valued at a combined amount of $10,000. The Fellowship will allow Kennedy and his colleagues at Urban Launchpad to expand the project from a printed bus map to a comprehensive transit information system including bus stop signage, directional signage, real-time displays and decals for buses.

Learn more about Designing Dhaka’s Bus Infostructure and contact Stephen Kennedy, project representative, to lend your support!