User-centered Service Design for Sustainable Mobility Innovations : Mapping Users’ Needs and Service Requirements for Electric Car Sharing Service Design
Electric car sharing is gradually expanding as an innovative and more sustainable mobility alternative to private cars. Though, the use of such mobility service has not yet reached the desired levels worldwide despite attracting large number of customers. For car sharing operators, thus, it is imperative to understand the users and their needs beyond the existing demographics and quantitative data in order to design more desirable and useful services that expand customer acceptance and usage rate of such alternative.
This thesis is an exploratory study about users’ needs, behaviors, and experiences toward electric car sharing and the service requirements resulting from these dimensions. Using user- centered service design approach, the study focuses in obtaining qualitative insights about users through workshops with focus groups in regards to LEV-pool, a research project that intends to field test a new approach to car sharing by offering small size electric vehicles for local mobility at a large workplace.
Based on three user-centered service design methods: customer journey map, personas, and stakeholder map, a visual mapping of users, their needs, behaviors, and experiences, and service requirements is developed. The findings point at different user types with distinct purposes of using car sharing, whose needs for mobility (at work) are affected by external factors such as work activities and job occupation. Their mobility behavior differs in terms of how they interact with car sharing service and is partly influenced by the service offering. In general, users show various experiences toward car sharing systems, and many relate it to technical aspects of the service. In terms of service requirements, the results highlight available vehicles at the needed time, simple and easy booking system with many features responsive to users’ needs, maintenance and cleanliness of vehicles, effective communication of service offering, and simple pricing schemes. The underlying user dimensions explored show as relevant in shaping the users’ evaluation of a service and their decision to use a certain mobility alternative.
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