User Interface | User Experience | Marketing | Design Research
Ivan Lou | Tia Huang | Triet Dang | Sally Khomikh

The goal of this project is to have a better understanding of how a more efficient way of using energy that relates to most of us and learn about our participants’ personal experiences, the difficulties that they have had, and their expectations in order to design a service that benefits everyone.

Ride smarter,
commute cleaner.

Polaride is an app made to help Bay Area riders engage in their daily commute by becoming aware of their carbon footprint. Through Interactive data, stats and content, Polaride users become smarter riders and, in effect, help the environment on a day-to-day basis.

Topic Choice

Our team was assigned “Energy” as a topic. Below is the mind map we categorized into four different directions: climate change, human energy, electric car, clean energy.

From the first round of interviews and the secondary research, we realized transportation was the key component that tied into all four directions.



With our direction decided, we did a second round of interviews and here are the insights we got from our interviews and research.


People who own cars don’t use them often.

Due to parking difficulties and traffic in the city, people tend to not use their cars much.

Hanna Fritzinger

Marketing Director

“With BART, there is no traffic. I honestly think that BART is just as fast as if I called an Uber to my house in the morning. After work, getting out of downtown in an Uber can take so long that it’s better just to take BART.”


Necessity vs Choice.

Students choose public transportation out of necessity, but working professionals who have access to cars sometimes actively choose to use public transportation.

Mark Buenafe


“I don’t like the crowd on public transit, but I don’t mind because it is cheaper.”


The sense of community and productivity from public transit.

People like listening to podcasts, reading, etc.

Eric Heiman

Designer & Teacher

“When you go on muni, you interact with a lot of people. For me, it’s kind of interesting. It feels good to say hello to people. I also know some of the drivers now. There is something that feels communal about it tome, that’s why I’m this city.”


Improvements of infrastructure can make public transit more appealing.

Compared to other major cities in the world, the transportation system in the Bay Area is relatively outdated.


PR Associate

“Transportation is a very solid representation of a place and its people. The system is flawed here. I wish it was given more attention, because SF should be great example.”


We developed two archetypes to describe the behaviors and needs of the people who might use our service.

The Commuting Student

“I want a safer, more energy-controlled, and timely mode of transportation that I can afford.”

The Urban Professional

“I want to stay positive and productive during my commute. It would be even better if I can save energy.”

Ecosystem Map

The ecosystem map shows some of the different factors that affect the experience of transportation.

Experience Map

The journey map here tells the story of Joe and Riley's daily commute. It lets us see the opportunities we can explore.

How might we encourage Bay Area residents to consider "Energy" in their choice of daily transportation?

Our Service

Polaride enables users to see what environmentally-friendly route choices are available, based on selected destinations. Users can track their carbon footprint data and accumulate rewards which they can donate or keep for themselves.

Component 1

Customize your polar bear.

After signup, the user will be asked to customize their polar bear.

Component 2

Eco-friendly commute choices.

See the eco-friendly commute choices you have, and choose your commute based on its predicted CO2 emission and get star rewards.

Component 3

Track your CO2 emission.

Polaride uses PPM as our primary unit for tracking your CO2 emission! The users will be able to see whether or not they have managed a decent PPM by looking at the polar bear’s iceberg and the visual data their profile displays.

Component 4

Donate & use your rewards.

The users can collect rewards by choosing eco-friendly commute routes! Once they have collected enough reward points, they can donate, gift or use the points.

Service Blueprint

To better guide our service touch points, design, and planning, we created this service blueprint.

Scroll to see the full blueprint >

Service Vision Story

Still confused about what Polaride does? This video will explain the major steps and touchpoints we designed through our service.


The marketing of our service includes two physical touchpoints designed for people who are already using public transportation and friends of Polaride users.


"Don't you hate it when your bed melts?"

The posters are mainly installed at bus stops and BART stations.

Gift Card

The users are able to exchange their points for a gift card that can be only used on public transportation such as Muni and BART.

The gift card can also be send as a gift to the user's friend.