The Accommodation of Older Adults in Ride-Hailing Technology
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- Date created
- May 7, 2020
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The Program in Science, Technology, and Society is a dynamic interdisciplinary major that provides students with a liberal arts education for the twenty-first century. The Program's affiliated faculty represent over a dozen departments, including Anthropology, Communication, Computer Science, Education, Electrical Engineering, History, Law, Management Science and Engineering, Political Science and Sociology. The only major at Stanford to offer both a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree, STS majors develop depth within two or three fields of study while fostering a broad understanding of the technical and social dimensions of science and technology.
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- Although existing research indicates the potential for ride-hailing apps to address mobility challenges and improve the quality of life for older adults, the proportion of older adults adopting this technology is growing proportionally at a much slower rate. This thesis aims to answer the research question: what design affordances are being made by ride-hailing companies for older adults, and how can the design be improved to better accommodate an aging population? To answer the first part of the research question, I used mixed methods to address four key areas of communication, presentation, implementation, and perception of the technology. First, I conducted a content analysis of the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center and Uber and Lyft blog posts and webpages to understand communication of the product. The key themes identified from the content analysis informed the presentation studies; I conducted a product evaluation of the Uber and Lyft apps and observational study at the San Francisco International Airport, a key area of ride-hailing usage in the United States. Finally, to understand the perception of the app, I conducted a survey that yielded 380+ responses across 45 states, and interviews with 10 older adult participants from suburbs and major cities within Santa Clara and Los Angeles County. This thesis concludes that 1) older adults face a combination of technical and physical usability challenges that result in safety and comfort concerns in using ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft, and 2) there is a significant need for further research into the intersection of digital apps and transportation for older adults. Ultimately, this thesis offers novel data into current older adult interactions with ride-hailing systems, and provides insights and implications for the future of aging and mobility that can be used by designers, researchers, and policymakers.
- Preferred Citation
- Xue, Danna. (2020). The Accommodation of Older Adults in Ride-Hailing Technology. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Stanford University, Stanford CA.
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