Envisioning a Smart Transit System


Traffic congestion and transit inefficiencies have become huge problems for all residents of the Bay Area. VanGo is a concept for a smart transit system that uses real-time data to provide riders an optimal commute experience with flexible routes at affordable prices (This project was done before Uber Pool and Lyft line existed.)
Urban Planning
  • Brief
  • Research
  • Concept
  • Design
  • Phasing strategy
  • Business plan


1 month



In this self-initiated exploration merging my background in urban planning and digital products, I explored the potential for technology to provide a new transit alternative. This project was completed in 2014, before Uber Pool, Lyft Line, or ViaVan existed.

VanGo's Mission


Creating a new transit system would require strategic work on all fronts. Relying solely on technology and the private sector will not yield the optimal product for the public.

Target Users


A user requests a ride from the VanGo app or kiosk at the shuttle stop. The app tells the rider and driver where the pickup stop is. When the shuttle arrives, the user is guaranteed a spot.  He doesn’t have to take out the phone, because beacons in the shuttle verifies that it is indeed the user. The shuttle takes a flexible route that changes based on traffic and users’ stop requests. Once the rider exits the shuttle, the beacons registered that he has been dropped off automatically.

Flexible routes and stops

By using new dedicated stops and underutilized curb space like fire hydrant zones and other loading zones, VanGo can stop on any block along the route. Unlike Uber pool or Lyft line which only serves two parties per trip, the shuttle has many passengers. To be efficient, VanGo sticks to a route, making stops only as requested. The route will be charted based on population density and key destinations to ensure equity.

Urban Design