Increasing McMaster Students’ Use of SoBi Through Lifestyle Choices: Engaging Students in an Active Lifestyle

Challenge:
How can we get more students at McMaster University to incorporate physical activity into their day to day lives?
 Students on the  SoBi  riding through McMaster Campus

Students on the SoBi riding through McMaster Campus

Students:
Nicole Crimi, Brian Zheng, Mostafa Mohammed, Daniel Park

Staff:
Don Curry, Health Promotion Specialist, Healthy and Safe Communities

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Pete Topalovic, Project Manager - Sustainable Mobility, Planning and Economic Development

Course and Department:
Innovation By Design (HTH SCI 4ID3), Department of Health Sciences

 
 Students working on the project

Students working on the project

Physical activity affects many components of one’s health, and is something that through time, people have been consistently short of. This is prevalent in Hamilton when one considers that over 50% of car trips taken within the city are less than 1 km in distance. This has an effect on citizens’ health through increased pollution and increased non-communicable disease incidence such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. At the same time, when speaking with members of the community, it is clear that it is often difficult to visualize where active transit can fit in one’s life. Therefore, a strategy to engage citizens and help bring active transit closer to them is ideal.

Nicole, Brian, Mostafa and Daniel interviewed 8 McMaster students to understand goals, pain-points and ideas. They analyzed interview information and used empathy maps to develop key focus points, questions to tackle and design principles which were used in the development of our prototype. We aimed to use what we learned from the interviews to make our prototype user-oriented. Through a design-thinking approach they developed an app prototype which aims to engage students in an active lifestyle catered to their needs and interests. We shared this prototype with four McMaster students and stakeholders in order to obtain feedback and ideas for improvement. The students created a pilot website catered to the interests of students and locations around McMaster University to create a social network oriented around active transportation by presenting multiple points of interest that are accessible by SoBi Bikeshare. 

Next the Innovation by Design students will add maps with the locations of SoBi  stations to the website, and develop a method of keeping the website updated with information on events and points of interest. They are looking to partner with a software developer in order to extend website to an app in the future. Finally they hope to share pilot website with students/stakeholders at a McMaster event and market its presence by incorporating an incentives/rewards program in partnership with local businesses. 

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