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CATAPULT goes Pörtschach

Oct 29, 2021

On Tuesday the 19th and Wednesday the 20th of October 2021, the CATAPULT Project-Consortium conducted field tests with teenagers and senior citizens in Pörtschach, Austria to investigate the inclusivity of automated mobility.

The goal of the CATAPULT project is to develop and adapt policies for inclusive autonomous mobility solutions for cities. In a co-creation process, the projects aims at identifying the needs and requirements of potential user groups that have so far been underrepresented in the development of automated mobility solutions. The aim of the field test was to collect insights on their needs and barriers as well as their vision of inclusive future mobility. The Austrian research team (consisting of FACTUM and AustriaTech) was accompanied by colleagues from KU Leuven and Flandern, Belgium.

On Tuesday 24 students from Kötschach-Mauthen visited the test site in Pörtschach to participate in our field test. The field test consisted of six different stations dealing with (automated) mobility and inclusiveness. Within the field test, the students took a ride on the automated Shuttle by Navya that runs through Pörtschach and shared their thoughts on self-driving busses. Furthermore, they were asked to slip into the role of quality managers and inspect the bus stops as well as the surrounding walking and cycling infrastructure and give feedback on where they identify potentials to better align them with their needs. The response of the teenagers regarding the day was very positive: “It was a cool event. I wish the bus would drive faster.”, said one student during the wrap-up session.

On Wednesday 28 senior citizens took part in the field test. Split into small groups, they discussed the bus stop of the future and took a test drive with the shuttle. It is important to involve a diverse group of users at an early stage in order to design target-group-specific, inclusive and demand-oriented automated mobility solutions for cities and regions.

Data about the needs and expectations was collected following the principles of the Participatory Observation method as well as the Thinking Aloud method. Furthermore, they were asked questions related to their mobility behaviour and requirements related to the use of public transport. The senior citizens then participated in focus group interviews to gain a more profound understanding of their attitude towards the technology as well as their wishes for inclusive future mobility. Their resume was also very positive. One female participant highlighted: “I’m happy that I had the chance to participate. It was a very interesting afternoon for me. I could imagine using the automated shuttle to go to the grocery store at the other side of Pörtschach. That way, I wouldn’t need to use my private car and the automated shuttle could drop me off with the heavy groceries in front of my house.”

During the two days in Pörtschach a lot of valuable data was gathered that will now be processed and used for the development of a so called serious game as well as the foreseen policy recommendations. AustriaTech takes the lead in the development of policy recommendations, which are intended to show political decision-makers, urban planners and mobility provider’s possibilities and fields of action for the creation of inclusive mobility solutions to facilitate the daily mobility of the target groups studied.

A big thank you goes to SURAAA and its team for supporting the tests and hosting the research group.

More information can be found on the CATAPULT website and the website from SURAAA.

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