Dr Tracy Ross

PhD The role of user participation in the development of transport service innovations, Loughborough University
BSc Ergonomics, Loughborough University

Pronouns: She/her
  • Senior Lecturer in People-Centred Design
  • Co-Director Internal Communications

Tracy has a BSc in Ergonomics from Loughborough University. Her expertise is in the user-centred design of technology-related innovation. Her research experience crosses several application domains but with a particular focus on transport, mobile and social systems.

Most of her research has been conducted in collaboration with commercial partners and clients to ensure the end user is provided with usable, safe and valued systems. She has worked with partners across Europe and in the UK on public and private funded projects.

Her current research includes:

  • How technology can be used to both capture and influence behaviours, particularly in the sustainable transport arena.
  • The role that subjective wellbeing can play in influencing behaviours, through the medium of digital technologies.
  • How crowdsourcing of data can be encouraged by (a) tapping into peoples motivations and (b) good system design.
  • The opportunities offered by digital technologies across different aspect of people’s lifestyles, from home to work to travel to leisure and the role of service design in these contexts.

Tracy is a member of the User Centred Design Research Group

Current and Recent Grants

  • TOC Ability – Intelligent Accessibility Hub (2017-2018)

This project is funded by the RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board) and aims to deliver a digital platform that will connect train operators and customers, with an emphasis on bringing real improvements to train journeys for customers with accessibility needs. The project will facilitate the sharing of disabled customers’ travel requirements with train operating companies through an ‘intelligent accessibility hub’, which exchanges real-time information to provide tailored journey requirements. A key focus for the project is developing a solution that meets the privacy needs of the customer whilst being able to improve their journey experience.

Partners include: EnableID, Atkins, TFL, Arriva UK Trains, Goss Consultancy and the University of Surrey

  • Using real-time data on train consist and loading to influence passenger positioning and boarding behaviour (2017-2018)

This project is funded by the RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board) and is part of a programme aimed at faster, safer, better boarding and alighting of trains. Often when a train arrives at a platform, passengers may be wrongly positioned for the doors, the right carriage for their booked seat or certain facilities e.g. cycle areas.  The problems created by this behaviour are slower boarding, reduced safety and a degraded passenger experience. Enhancing this passenger information and evaluating its influence on passenger behaviour at the passenger-train interface (PTI) is the focus of this project.

We are partnering with the University of Surrey for this research.

  • DICE (Data to improce the customer experience (2016-2019)

This 3-year project is funded by EPSRC and applies computer science solutions to an end-user-focussed challenge. The challenge is how to achieve an enhanced customer experience during a journey, through detailed knowledge of an individual traveller, whilst protecting the privacy of their data.

As well as developing technical solutions to data privacy, this project aims to encourage passengers to provide this data by developing an evaluation framework to enhance their understanding of how it is used and how they can control it, thus maximising trust in the service.

This multi-disciplinary project is in collaboration with University of Surrey, Royal Holloway, University of London, University of Southampton ans the Digital System Catapult. The Industry Advisory Board includes: ATOC, RSSB, EnableID, Transport Systems Catapult and ThalesUK.

  • Hyperlocal rainfall (2015-2016)

This project is funded by InnovateUK under the ‘Urban Living: Innovative Products and Services’ programme. It is investigating whether the provision of very local, time-accurate rainfall prediction to users can encourage more active travel (walking and cycling).

This multi-disciplinary project is in collaboration with Meniscus Systems, Peterborough Environment City Trust and Anglia Ruskin University.

  • Enhance passenger experience through privacy aware mobile applications (2015-2016)

This project is funded by RSSB and ATOC through the ‘Data to Improve the Customer Experience’ call from RRUKA. It is a feasibility study of how the provision of personal data can be used to enhance the rail passenger experience whilst protecting privacy. This specific study focuses on passengers with visual or mobility impairments but the findings will be more widely applicable.

This project is collaboration with the University of Surrey and the University of Southampton.

  • Smarter travel for business (2012-2015)

Loughborough Design School had a small grant as part of the Leicestershire County Council Local Sustainable Transport Fund to use the research of the REFLECT project as a contribution to the evaluation of the LSTF in Leicestershire. This was a collaboration with Tim Ryley in the School of Civil and Building Engineering (Transport Studies)

  • A service design approach to the hockey experience (2013-2014)

As part of the university’s innovation partnership with the International Hockey Federation (FIH), Loughborough Design School facilitated a Service Design process that aims to develop a new and dynamic, entertainment-focussed complementary game designed to help hockey reach new markets and improve hockey for both players and fans.

  • REFLECT ‘A feasibility study in experienced utility and travel behaviour’ (2010-2014)

This 3.5 year project was funded by the EPSRC and aimed to use digital technologies to encourage people to reflect on their regular travel experiences, represented in novel ways, to cause them to think differently about their journeys and to investigate whether this will promote behaviour change to more sustainable modes.

This multidisciplinary project wass a collaboration between Sheffield University (Economics), Newcastle University (Psychology), Lancaster University (Computer Science), Loughborough University (User-centred Design), Queen Mary, University of London (Mathematics) and Bristol University (Modelling & Simulation).

  • FITS 'Ideas in Transit' (2007-2012)

This 5-year project was one of 3 funded by the UK government initiative "Future Intelligent Transport Systems" which aimed to address "the challenge of delivering better passenger and freight transport services while at the same time reducing negative environmental impacts especially the carbon footprint."

It was joint funded by EPSRC, the Department for Transport and the Technology Strategy Board. Partners were the University of the West of England, Ordnance Survey and Ito. The aim was to understand non-conventional (and particularly user-generated, bottom-up) sources of innovation which can improve the transport system in the UK.

Loughborough’s research interest was how the interface between users and technologies act as a barrier or enabler in this context. The project included budget to support spin-off projects, PhDs and scoping studies for promising innovations. Three of the innovations that Loughborough worked directly with were FixMyTransport, AccessAdvisr and CycleStreets.

The Key Findings report can be found here

This 4-year EU-funded project involved 25 partners cross-Europe and the aim was to carry out real-world, long-term assessments of the impact of nomadic devices (e.g. satnav, hazard warning, speed alert) on the traffic system in terms of safety, personal mobility, traffic efficiency and environment.

Identifying the real-world implications of introducing such systems will influence government policy, market uptake and system design.

  • Valued LBS (2003-2006)

This EPSRC-funded project tackled the issue of poor uptake of location based services early in the decade (after being hailed the next 'killer app'). The research focused on identifying the key characteristics of 'valued' services by conducting user requirements studies across a range of mobile scenarios.

In addition, the research identified the need for new data, attributes, functionality and interface paradigms to support end-users; these outputs were used by the commercial partners - Ordnance Survey and Trafficmaster - and VTT in Finland.

  • Regional (1999-2002)

Funded by the EPSRC under the LINK programme, this project proposed new concepts for next-generation navigation systems that were more aware of the external road environment.

The research culminated in guidelines for the choice, use and presentation of 'landmarks' as navigational cues in future systems and showed the safety, acceptability and performance benefits that this could achieve. The project consortium included major players in the navigation supply chain, namely Navteq, Alpine and Jaguar.

  • DSC021 Design Research
  • DSC114 Inclusive Design, Ageing, Disability and Vulnerability
  • DSC117 Driver and Vehicle Ergonomics
  • DSP114 Disability, Aging and Inclusive Design
  • DSP117 Driver and Vehicle Ergonomics
  • DSP802 Design for Behaviour Change
  • DSP811 Group Project
  • DSP831 Experience Design
  • DSP834 Service Design for Social Innovation
  • DSP861 Business, Enterprise and Design 

Tracy is a member of the supervisory team for the Mini Centre for Doctoral Training in Service Design which is a vibrant group that brings together expertise from Loughborough School of the Arts and Loughborough Design School. Its aim is to train postgraduate researchers to achieve success in service design and innovation. Our overarching goals are research excellence, societal impact and enterprising viability. The current PhD research topics focus on Service Design: Innovations, Travel and Wellbeing,

Tracy currently supervises the following students:

  • Laura Santamaria
  • Sarah-Anne de-Kremer
  • Serena Fruttaldo
  • Syed Murad