Role 8. Human-Computer Interaction expert from a local university

Your role during the stakeholder process is to represent the interests of individuals who may directly interact with the self-driving buses. Your expertise pertains to how people interact with computing technology, how to improve its usability, and how to convey risks emerging from human-computer interaction (HCI). Although you neither work for the company nor for the city, as an interested citizen and a local university professor, you want to ensure that a self-driving bus can safely and effectively interact with passengers and other people within its proximity.  For example, easy and effective communication (both between the passengers and the bus as well as the bus and the outside world) is an important area to consider. Someone having an emergency must be able to signal their need for an unscheduled stop.

Similarly, if there is a dispute between passengers on board, communication and alert systems must be in place such that the bus can be made aware of the situation and potentially take action (e.g., facilitate the removal of involved passengers or notify the police). In addition to communication concerns, you know just how important it is for humans to trust the technology with which they interact. In order for a new technology to be effective, people must be able to trust the system they are using.¹ If, for instance, passengers on the self-driving buses feel they lack control and/or feel unsafe, they will be far less likely to use them. You are also an avid universal design advocate and you want to ensure that the self-driving buses are designed in a way that is inclusive and meets the needs of all passengers, regardless of ability, age, race, gender, nationality, literacy level, and so on.²

As an HCI expert, your main points of prioritization include:

  • Determining whether effective mechanisms are in place to facilitate communication between the buses and passengers
  • Determining whether the company would adhere to universal design principles that will accommodate a diverse range of users
  • Identifying risks to passengers and others if the bus interfaces are not designed adequately
  • Identifying ways to instill trust and confidence in passengers regarding the safety and performance of the self-driving bus



  1. Choi, J. K., & Ji, Y. G. (2015). Investigating the Importance of Trust on Adopting an Autonomous Vehicle. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 31(10), 692–702. doi: 10.1080/10447318.2015.1070549. Retrieved from
  2. Persson, H., Åhman, H., Yngling, A. A., & Gulliksen, J. (2014). Universal design, inclusive design, accessible design, design for all: different concepts—one goal? On the concept of accessibility—historical, methodological and philosophical aspects. Universal Access in the Information Society, 14(4), 505–526. doi: 10.1007/s10209-014-0358-z. Retrieved from

Supplemental Readings