&Kommen is a redesign of the Frankfurt public transit system that facilitates accessibility to refugees. "Kommen" meaning "come" and "ankommen" meaning "arrive" in German, &Kommen is a joining of two languages - the English ampersand and the German expression - to signify the unification of multiple dialects.
Mobility knowledge in Frankfurt is limited for refugees due to outdated design of public transportation.
Frankfurt, Germany is the country’s fifth largest city. Frankfurt’s transportation system, Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV), is one of Germany's largest public transit networks, providing train, tram, and bus routes all around the city.
In 2015, Germany had taken in the highest rate of refugees it has ever seen in history, with over 890,000 asylum seekers in search of safety. The majority of these refugees came from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Turkey. Germany was suddenly tasked with integrating an influx of many new and vulnerable citizens into a completely unfamiliar culture.
Research addressing mobility of refugees in the city of Frankfurt has just begun to surface. Benefits of using public transportation for immigrants include increased access to resources, increased access to job opportunities, widened social circles, and overall enhanced integration into the new country and culture. In a recent study completed earlier this year, researcher Isabella Geis broke down the many issues immigrants face with mobility during the integration process in Frankfurt. Ninety-eight percent of refugees in the study reported never using a car as a driver, and only 50% of refugees in the study reported using public transportation on a weekly basis. Because of this, many of these refugees are refined to living out their daily activities within only a one to two mile radius, all by foot.
The strongest noted cause for this lack of use of transportation is simply that refugees are often unaware of their options. They experience information overload when first settling into their new countries. The pamphlet for how to use the RMV system quickly gets lost amongst the shuffle of hundreds handed out upon arrival. There currently is little effort to consolidate the proper knowledge distribution of mobility resources between government groups, non-profit organizations, and grass-roots efforts.
&Kommen is a dual mobile app and kiosk system that addresses this knowledge distribution issue with a design solution. It works to aid in the navigation around Frankfurt by providing ease and reassurance to not just refugees, but also to visitors and even long-time residents of Frankfurt. The system aims to utilize the untapped potential that smartphones have on refugee integration2 and couple it with visual and audible cues in the outside world in order to create a comprehensive system that reaffirms navigation around the city. The International Rescue Committee UK (IRC) is funding this project in hopes of laying the framework for how design made for refugees can be beneficial for all.
Ticket kiosk and app system that works in tandem to build familiarity and confidence with public transportation for all.
Upon approaching the &K Kiosk System, users are presented with a large touchscreen that displays “Choose your language” in multiple languages.
Once language is selected, users are prompted to scan the QR code on the screen in order to download the &Kommen app. Doing this automatically programs the app in the selected language. Audio instructions begin to emit from the smartphone’s speaker in order to provide an added layer of familiarity and to allow for accesibility to illiterate and/or deaf users.
QR Code appears on user’s app to be scanned as prompted by Ticket Station. Scanning this code automatically programs the kiosk to display what language you will be purchasing your tickets in. This unique code is now saved to the users phones as well so that they are able to bypass the Language Selector for future trips and purchase previously purchased trips.
Instructions prompted on the screen are simultaneously played aloud on phone speaker. Users may opt to use the microphone feature on their phone in order to input their destination by speech.
&K app displays the platform and time of departure in the user’s language once ticket is purchased.
Once user has arrived at final station, users are asked if they would like to continue walking navigation through their Maps app to their final destination.
In-App Sign Translator
All outdoor signs in the &K format are translatable via the in-app translator. Users may toggle back to the Departure Display page at any time by simply swiping up or down.
Train delays, cancellations, and other important information announced on the PA system of the stations will appear as an alert on the app, as well as played aloud in the chosen language of the user.