A transportation project created by a group of Kean’s industrial design students was chosen to be exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. One of only five universities chosen to be represented throughout the country, the exhibit, titled “A Day in the Life of a Kean Student,” has been on display since December and will continue to be shown until March 31.
The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is an institution in the Upper East Side of New York City dedicated to showcasing historic and contemporary design. The Kean project is being shown as part of a larger exhibit dubbed “The Road Ahead: Reimagining Transportation,” which presents a total of 40 design projects that imagine the future of transportation in our cities.
The student team consisted of sophomore James D’Orazio, sophomore John Almeida, senior Michael Daniel and sophomore Jared Torres, all of whom are studying industrial design in the Robert Busch School of Design. According to D’Orazio, the inspiration for this project was born from their collective experience navigating the trials and tribulations of getting to school.
“As all four of us are students, we notice the flaws in our daily commutes to class and back as well as around campus. Therefore, we were determined to create an idea that students both on and off campus could benefit from and enjoy,” D’Orazio said.
One part of their transportation vision focused on providing commuter students with an inclusive and efficient way to get to campus.
“We have come up with autonomous shuttle systems that run from Kean University to the major hubs in New Jersey within a 45 minute radius. They only have one destination besides Kean so the annoyance of frequent stops has been removed and they will have their own route to make travel time as quick as possible,” D’Orazio said.
Additionally, their design included services and accommodations for those who reside in the campus dormitories.
“For on-campus students, we have an autonomous cart system for those who are handicapped, injured, have an excess of materials to carry for class or are simply running late,” D’Orazio said. “Along with that, we have come up with the idea of assisted pedal bicycles for those who want to get to class in a timely manner while getting their fill of exercise, or for anyone who wants a more enjoyable commute to their class.”
Although the work of Kean students has been featured in this museum before, D’Orazio said he considers the recognition a source of pride.
“Being exhibited in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Museum is a huge honor and has been amazing experience for my team and I, as well as a great opportunity to get exposure into the design world,” D’Orazio said.