Mar Vista, California

The challenge

How can we create a safer interaction between cyclists, pedestrians and drivers?

The context

As part of the Design Studio 1 class in Fall 2017, we were given a mobility challenge to solve in the city of Los Angeles. We chose Mar Vista, a neighborhood on the west side of Los Angeles. Early 2017, the district decided to create an insulated bike lane to make biking safer for residents and tourists. However this new infrastructure created its fair share of issues.

The problem

Pedestrians and drivers are often unaware of approaching cyclists and will cross or turn into the bike lane without looking.

The proposed solution

Dynamic audio/visual alerts which protect cyclists’ right of way by warning pedestrians and drivers of their presence.


Stephanie Hawken
Mordechai Friedman
Zach Lalich

My role

Team Lead


Keynote, Sketch, Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop, Slack, Google Slides, iMovie

What problems do residents and local business owners encounter with the new bike lane?

We interviewed business owners, residents and cyclists in the concerned area. We divided ourselves into 2 groups. Mordechai and I talked to a library Manager, a Tattoo Artist business owner, 2 cyclists and a few residents on the street. We gathered information together afterwards and grouped important issues.

"I saw a few kids almost get hit by bicycles"

# Robert, 65,
Salesman @ Johnson’s Bookshop
"I witnessed a couple of bicycle accidents with pedestrians going into the bike lane"

# Johnny, 52,
Tattoo Artist @ Tattoo Lounge

"I love the new bike lane, I feel safer. I feel insulated from cars, but it’s still scary. Pedestrians just cross into the bike lane and cars don’t see me when I approach an intersection."

# Ashton, 25,
Bike commuter 

Some problems we encountered

Food truck in bike lane and bike vs car accident


Research results


Transition is inconsistent in road markings
(dash to solid randomly).

Poor communication

There isn't any variation in color to distinguish the bike lane from the road or crosswalks. Poor communication between cars and cyclists: decisions are made instinctively and often in pressured-situations.

Lack of signage

There are signs but they are small and limited to the sidewalk.

Solution details

Use existing infrastructures and products

A solution that one of the stakeholders, the Council could implement easily to their project, at low cost. It would protect cyclists’ right of way by warning pedestrians and drivers of their presence.

Low fidelity






After presenting our concept to our teacher and the rest of the class, a few people pointed out that the “bike” sign may not communicate the correct information to pedestrians as they are more used to see a “hand” sign as a STOP sign. After conducting A/B testing, we got confirmation that a Red Warning Hand Stop signal would be more effective.

A combination of visual and sound: “Bike Approaching, Don’t Cross”




FLIR Intelligent Transportation Systems

TrafiSense is an integrated thermal sensor and detector for vehicle and bike detection. It uses the thermal energy emitted from vehicles and bicyclists. It can be combined with other sensors to detect pedestrians such as TrafiOne.


More about TrafiSense 

More about TrafiOne

Use case scenario

Internet of Things

Devices on meters communicate via bluetooth connected to a Raspberry pi computer.

TrafiOne Cameras

The thermal cameras will trigger auditory and visual signals if pedestrians and cyclists are detected within the delimited area.

TrafiSense Cameras

The thermal cameras will trigger a visual signal if a cyclist is detected when a car approaches the intersection.

User testing


After doing multiple rounds of tests, we came to the conclusion that a combination of a ring bell sound and voice was the most effective.

Final project