Strategic Design for Rural Transit of Monroe County

Conducting contextual inquiry


Several rounds of contextual inquiry and paper prototyping led our team to the conclusion that the most important thing for the dispatchers is the ability to easily look at a particular day's schedule of repeat clients and know where new clients can be fit in. Thus, we implemented Google Calendar with the dispatchers. This allows them to quickly see a schedule, as well as providing them the ability to schedule repeat clients with only a few clicks. In the previous database/Excel/paper system, a repeat client (for example, Mr. Smith, who needs dialysis M/W/F every week at 10am) had to be scheduled individually for every single day.

Google Calendar is envisioned as part of a long-term strategy aimed at bringing Rural Transit up-to-date technology to facilitate their services. We found that an ideal solution would be one that seemlessly integrates the database and calendar aspects, as a database is still necessary to track client information for Medicaid and non-profit status purposes. In addition, we suggested to Rural Transit that they consider budgeting for and exploring the option of using sync-capable smart phones to provide schedules to their drivers. In addition to eliminating the waste involved in printing two copies of every driver's schedule everyday (one for the driver, one for the dispatcher's office), this would allow drivers to be immediately alerted to any last-minute changes in the schedule.