Jenna Witzleben

Social Commuting

Social Commuting

How can we encourage commuters to talk to strangers?


SVA MFA Products of Design

Fall 2015

Brand and Visual Design, Product Design, UX/UI, Filming and Editing, Design Strategy

In this project I explored a reimagination of the New Jersey Transit experience to foster social interaction among commuters. Encompassing new branding, a wearable ticketing system, and a phone application, this redesign takes users through a new and cheerful journey on their daily commute. Research shows that people are actually happier when they have interacted with strangers. This project answers the question of how to break the initial conversation barriers.

At the heart of this project is the wearable ticketing system, an alternative to the existing punch card. One-way pass holders receive a sticker, and monthly pass holders receive a reusable lapel pin. Through wearing the sticker or lapel pin with your destination information, you provide a conversation start to your fellow passengers. By opting in to this alternative ticket form, users give permission to others for social interaction.

The new brand expands the story of a social commute and spreads positivity throughout the entire NJ Transit experience. The color palette is unapologetically cheerful and also distinguishes NJ Transit from the surplus of blue-based transportation color palettes. The logo design nods to two tracks merging as well as the J and T of the New Jersey Transit. The new tagline of "making connections" further promotes the goals of this rebranding effort.

If you need more conversation starter suggestions, there's an option for that too. The concept app "Connect" allows you to view what interests you share with the passengers sitting around you. Now you can know when you're sitting next to another avid theater buff or a fellow chocolate connouisseur.

There is so much potential in commuting to stimulate conversations, collaborations, and friendships. Not to mention increase general happiness. 

Why spend it in solitude?