Fostering empathy between a bus driver & passengers


How does the interaction between a driver and passengers inside HSL buses affect the emotional comfort?

On the course User Inspired Design we were supposed to come up with a social innovation. We decided to work with buses in Helsinki region as buses are places used by a diverse and large group of people every day. We believe the experience of riding a bus should not add more stress to our everyday lives. 

How we gathered knowledge:

  • observing situations in various buses
  • arranging a workshop with people using buses
  • 2 interviews with a bus driver, first one in a cafe and second one in a bus during his shift as a quick immersion
  • 2 interviews with 2 HSL instructors


Communication tool to foster empathy

Our concept HeiBus is a collection of platforms for drivers to communicate with the passengers. As our research indicated, the drivers are physically isolated from the rest of the bus and as such, communication can be challenging.

HeiBus can be implemented using existing system on the bus and bus stops while adding new ways of communicating, which in turn will improve the customer experience for the passengers. The messages foster empathy and understanding between drivers and passengers. At the same time, it gives the driver an improved opportunity to be “acknowledged” or “seen” by the passengers. HeiBus consists of three different outputs for which messages are supplied by drivers, bus operators and HSL.