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The Futurebus was designed in 24 hours as part of a remote design sprint challenge hosted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The competition attracted over 200 participants from 52 different universities across the world. The Futurebus won the grand prize of 50,000 CNY.

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Design Research, Innovation Strategy, Idea Development


Shanghai Jiao Tong University - FourC Design Challenge​




William Ma, Yang Shun Li, Xin Li

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I was paired with three random grad students from around the world and we spent 24 hours on a Zoom call sprinting through the design process from white space identification, to research, to ideation, to solutioning.

For me, this was an exercise in remote collaboration and a chance to participate in China's HCD movement.

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In the post-pandemic era, public transportation is the first step towards a return to normalcy.

I led the white space identification and research phase of the project. I chose to interview participants in Singapore as the country was just starting to beat COVID-19 and return to normalcy. What are the fears and emotions around "returning to normalcy", and how might we facilitate a post-pandemic future?

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How might we prevent passenger paths from crisscrossing?

By redesigning the floor plan and the bus door mechanism (inspired by the Blum AVENTOS HL cabinet hinge), we changed how passengers enter and exit the bus.

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We designed Futurebus with pandemic-proof seating and a UV-sanitized rotating handlebar.


Illustration by Kate Francis


Due to the time constraints of the challenge, Futurebus was more of a thought experiment for the future of public transportation than an immediately implementable concept. That said, this project allowed me to dip my toes into the growing Chinese HCD movement and meet some of China's most promising student designers.

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