An Industrial Design Proposal Responding to Unmet Transportation Needs in the United States

Master's Thesis


Public transportation is often not available in the United States, particularly in places outside of metropolitan areas. In such regions, bicycles, motor scooters and motorcycles are some of the few alternatives to an automobile. Unfortunately, these choices provide little shelter, cargo space, or safety. These extremely limited choices of supplemental transportation has exacerbated public’s perception about personal safety and security concerning two-wheelers, and statistical evidence supports the fact that two-wheeled supplemental transportation can be unsafe. Furthermore, motorcycles provide little cargo-carrying capacity to the drivers. This leaves cars as the only popularly accepted means of transportation outside city environments.

An automobile ownership has become less attractive among members of Generation Y, also known as Millennials. People between the ages of 16 to 34 are now driving 23% less than the national average. While many are shifting away from automobiles, their transportation demands must still be met. Thus a more reliable, sustainable, efficient and affordable means of supplemental transportation, residing between the car and the motor scooter, could provide a solution.

Such a new departure in vehicle design would also respond to excessive speed capabilities and high ownership costs of automobiles, while providing sufficient protection and utility. Gen-Y, a supplemental light vehicle, is a three-wheel, low-emission, low-cost and structurally-safe option.

Designing such a niche vehicle that resides between car and motor scooter, will 1) enable affordable commuting in suburban and rural regions where public transportation is not available for short-distance travels within twenty-five miles, 2) offer an innovative solution that provides a safe, supplemental alternative to automobiles, 3) enable members of an on-the-go family to remain mobile when the family car is not available.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04162015-143220

Author Yifan Wang
Advisor Paul Down
Contributor Paul Down, Committee Chair
Contributor Anne Berry, Committee Member
Contributor Robin Rhodes, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Art, Art History, and Design
Degree Name MFA
Defense Date
  • 2015-04-14

Submission Date 2015-04-16
  • United States of America

  • transportation

  • united states

  • three-wheel

  • industrial design

  • three-wheel transportation

  • design

  • motorcycle

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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