Instruction Set for Strangers: Speed Trap


Prototype 1: Speed Tracking

Measure Runner’s Speed Through Two Checkpoints.



Technical Implementation.


Prototype 2: Competition

Get Runners to Participate with Signs and Verbal Encouragement.






Sign Examples.




Prototype 3: Providing Services to Runners

Water and Snack Tables.


Combination Prototype: Timed Racing

Racing with Speed Measurements (and Supportive Cheering)!


Category : Fall 2010 | Instruction Set for Strangers: Speed Trap | Major Studio: Interface | Blog

Prototype 1: Speed Tracking—Provide public feedback to runners that they would normally have to pay money for a private device to access

The Problem.

We want to provide a free service that helps runners train that would provide similar feedback to private wearable gps devices.

The Solution.

We would provide a service to runners by setting up a speed check point station. Here, when runners go through, their speed would be projected on the ground in front of them. This way, they can take note, and run through the check point at other times to see if their speed has increased or decreased.

Our system would provide speed feedback, as well as motivation. While nike+ provides indepth information and storage of information, it costs money, where as our service is provided for free. We also give the runners an opportunity to form a community with other runners locally, by participating in races on the spot, gathering to talk about their speed scores, or participating in giving moral support while on a break.

The benefits of our system are:
instant feedback in the speed checkpoint
an ability to connect with local runners

Measure of Success.

Success will be measured by whether the runners take note of their speed, if we can detect an increase in their speed or morale, or if they return to the speed check multiple times.



Nike plus helps you track your distance, pace, time, and calories burned. You can send these results to where you can set goals, join challenges, and connect with friends in the nike plus community.

– use either an ipod or a nike+ sports band to store data.
– syncing your iPod sends this data to
– when you log in, you can track your progress, join challenges, etc.

nike + ipod

You place the small pedometer in your shoe and attach the receiver to your iPod nano. iPod touch and iPhone 3Gs have built-in Nike + iPod support, so no receiver is necessary.

“Hit the ground running with workout based voice feedback, Nike Sport Music content, and your favorite playlists or songs that keep you pumping.”

After your run, your iPod touch, iPhone 3GS, or iPhone 4 wirelessly sends workout data to from wherever you are on the road. So right after you run, you can track your progress and analyze your performance. If you run with iPod nano, workout data is sent to when you connect it to your Mac or PC. You can also keep track of your daily steps when you sync the built-in Pedometer on iPod nano to your computer.

Taken from:

ASR Speed
A training system based on a algorithm developed by research scientists at Rice University in Houston, Texas which can predict the final distance/time or time/distance for any athlete at distances from a few meters to a run of 4 minutes duration.

It focuses on the rate of muscle fatigue to create workout regimens for runners to increase their endurance and speed by using shorter workouts.

While our system is much simpler, essentially just using the time/speed measuring component of ASR Speed, their general idea is interesting, and relates to ours on a higher level of training assistance.


Prototype 2: Competition—Provide runners with motivation to perform at their best by inserting the element of competition into the workout

The Problem.

The Hudson River Greenway supplies a venue for long-distance training but does not have any further training of motivational aids—the runners must generate their own motivation internally.

The Proposed Solution.

This prototype is characterized by adding the element of competition into the users’ daily (or not-so-daily) run. Competition lends a social aspect to exercise that increases a person’s drive to succeed, both to feel the glory of victory and to avoid the “shame” of losing and/or giving up. It consists of two different competition aspects that could either be implemented in tandem or decided between for the final iteration.

The Foot Race.
The first is the provide runners with the opportunity for a foot race—an opportunity that we all had as kids in a playground but which we rarely get to live out in our adult lives. We could create two single-runner-sized lanes roughly 40m long (dependent on the available space) and one of us would wait, crouched in the racing position, until a runner (or other pedestrian) decided they wanted to partake. We would most likely need a sign asking “Wanna Race??” or something of that ilk to make our intention clear.

Measure of Success. Success would be measured in the amount of people who chose to participate, and in brief interviews with the people after the conclusion of the sprint.

The Rabbit.

The second is to provide runners with a training tool that would be familiar to the more seasoned runners but still helpful to those newer to the sport: a series of pace-setters, or, “rabbits”. In many mid-length and longer competitive races, race organizers will hire runners to run at a specific pace for the participating runners to follow in order to ensure an even pace throughout the course. These runners carry signs marked with their specific pace so that runners have a benchmark for a certain speed without the need for extra technology. For this prototype, we would have a series of volunteer runners furnished with pace signs running back and forth along the promenade as a service to the runners.

Measure of Success.Success would be measured by the number of people who chose to participate by running alongside the pace-setters.




Applying sport psychology: four perspectives
By Jim Taylor, Gregory Scott Wilson

Emphasizes the importance of the athlete’s perception of competition and how it drives their internal drive and performance.


Foundations of sport and exercise psychology
By Robert Stephen Weinberg, Daniel Gould

Discusses the concept of Flow, a state when the athlete is being challenged by similarly matched opposition in such a way as to bring out their performance potential.


Flow Model


Underground Foot Racer

A Facebook group dedicated to challenging strangers to foot races and documenting the event.


Healthy Competition at the Gym

Article from

“Watching TV, listening to music, and perusing magazines are all great ways to pass the time when you’re on a cardio machine, but even those can get boring. They also require a bit of attention, compromising a good workout — you can’t turn pages while doingsprint intervals. When you need a little motivation, utilize your fellow gym-goers and compete with a stranger. While on the treadmill, look for someone near you who is clearly working it, and try to run a little faster or stay on the machine a little longer than that unsuspecting runner. When they end their run and you’re still going, get ready for the sweet taste of victory. This works on a bike, elliptical, or in the pool. While it’s helpful to use someone else’s drive to push yourself, just make sure you also listen to your body and don’t exceed your personal limits.”


Prototype 3: Providing Services to Runners

The Problem.

Runners make up a significant portion of people who use the park daily, but only have minimal services to support them.

The Solution.

We provide services to support stations for the runners. At these stations we could hand out water food (bananas, energy gels, bars, etc.) and motivation (in the form of supportive cheering). This level of support would allow runners to elevate their performance and improve their training.

Measure of Success.

This would be tough to quantitatively measure, but success would be measured by observing if the stations are being taken advantage of and then interview runners later to see if their run was qualitatively improved.


Precedents for this idea comes from large organized races, where crowds cheer for runners, energy/food is often provided and water is handed to ensure that participants are well hydrated. This allows runners to push themselves beyond their normal threshold.


water table

energy gel


cheering motivation

Category : Fall 2010 | Instruction Set for Strangers: Speed Trap | Major Studio: Interface | Blog

For our Instruction Set for Strangers project, Lee Williams, Liz Taylor and I decided to observe the Hudson River Greenway. We focused on a particular area of the Greenway where Charles Street hits the West Side Highway as the location of our photo documentation, but included the culture and activity along the entire pedestrian stretch of the Greenway between West 11th to the north and Hubert Street to the south for our qualitative analysis.

The Space.


History of the Hudson River Valley Greenway

In 1988, the New York State Legislature created the Hudson River Valley Greenway Council to study ways to enhance public use and enjoyment of the Hudson River Valley from the Battery in Manhattan to the Mohawk River north of Albany. The re sulting report recommended that a Green way be created by: (1) designating a geographical region encompassing the 12 counties along the Hudson River; (2) establishing a voluntary Hudson River compact, called the Hudson River Valley Greenway Committee, initially composed of the 82 municipalities and counties in the 12-county valley; (3) creating a Greenway Conservancy to fund and provide technical assistance for projects in the development of the Greenway; and (4), establishing a Hudson River Trail to ex tend along both sides of the river. This ESMP supports the Greenway and the Hudson River Park is a vital link in the waterfront trail.

Taken from:

This site gives general information about the greenway (and its different locations):


Time-Lapse and Video Documentation.


Colombus Day.


The Afternoon Crew.



An overcast weekday afternoon.



The Early Morning Runners.


Observing Spaces Time Lapse from Liz Taylor on Vimeo.


8am – Mostly joggers
9am – Joggers and Parents with strollers
10am – Children’s play groups
11am – Joggers
3pm – Children out of school
4pm – Teenage Joggers


The After-Work Runners.

Click to see the video. (It was too long to post on YouTube.)


6pm – Ratio of men to women of 2:1. Mostly runners exercising alone with some small groups.
7pm – Runners, still higher ratio of men to women. Occasional group of runners and one scheduled running group.
8pm – Number of people significantly drops due to light and cold. Only some runners and the occasional person walking remain.
9pm – Low number of people, mostly male runners.

Surpringly high number of what we refer to as “serious” runners despite lack of augmented training facilities (a track, marked measurements, heart rate monitoring, etc)—approximately 25-30%. The ratio increases in favor of serious runners as it gets later, darker and colder.


Documentation on the Run.


Very busy with runners and non-runners on a warm afternoon. Similar gender ratio of runners as earlier observations: more men than women at a ratio of about 2:1—however the remaining visitors were fairly even in gender as it included many “stroller moms” and tourists gazing out at the water.


The Water Fountains.

Inspiration and precedence.

Since runners make up a majority users interacting with our space we will focus on motivating or modifying the activity in our environment some precedences are things like GPS running watches and apps which track your speed and pace. All of these products believe that by giving you data about your run/bike ride/whatever you’ll be more motivated to compete against your previous times, pace, etc. We would like to try and provide some sort of data feedback that will be displayed publicly for everyone to use in our public space.

The Garmin 405CX

This sleek sport watch tracks your distance, pace and heart rate, then wirelessly sends the data to your PC for later analysis. The 405CX features heart rate-based calorie computation and comes with a second wrist band option suitable for smaller wrists.

Runkeeper Pro App

The app is very easy to use, allowing you to get a quick views of all your essential running details, time, distance, pace and calories.

Ghost Race App

Helps you train and pace yourself by letting you race your Ghost – your previous times on the same or similar courses.

Nike +

Provides a web service and a small pod which fits in your shoe that tracks your run.


Existing examples.

Few examples of public spaces that provided these features exist though. The closet we could find in public spaces, were parks that offered different types of excercise besides running, as a way to exerciers to enhance their experience. Some examples are:

We also considered how other groups have passed out water or fruits at marathons to both help the runners fuel up and give them encouragement. Some examples of this are:

We might bring in this element to our enhanced running experience, but if we don’t we can use this example as another way to increase the enjoyment of the runners while fulfilling one of their needs.

Additional website references.

Outdoor Exercise Equipment
Outdoor Equipment in Beijing
Greenway Triathlon
New York Road Runners
Running Clubs and Race Environments
Poland Spring Sponsorships

Category : Fall 2010 | Instruction Set for Strangers: Speed Trap | Major Studio: Interface | Blog