This weeks entry is data and information! To acquire this data I interviewed three people I met and applied my own experience to my data collection. The interview consisted of 8 simple questions that all dealt with the theme of Winter Travel. Each of the three people were asked the same questions in the same order, and I also answered the same set of questions to provide additional data. The answers to the questions will be supplied in a numbered list below their name.
The questions are as follows:
1. What is your best experience of traveling during winter?
2. What is your worst experience traveling during winter?
3. What are your most common modes of transportation during winter?
4. How does temperature affect how you travel?
5. How do weather conditions affect how you travel?
6. What types of products do you use to aid traveling during winter?
7. What types of products have you used that do not work for winter travel?
8. What do you think would be useful to help traveling during winter?
Interview #1. Cari
1. I drove south to warmer weather! I don't mind driving in winter when the roads are clear and the temperature is a little warmer.
2. I don't like being outside when it is cold, windy, snowing, icy, or when there is a snowstorm. I also don't like driving when my heater is broken.
3. Minivan. Refuse to walk long outside.
4. Doesn't matter how cold it is, I still need to buy groceries. Travel less frequently.
5. I won't drive through snowstorms. Won't travel when conditions are severe and travel less frequently during storms.
6. Snow-tires, antifreeze windshield wash, good ice scraper/brush, jumper cables, battery warming blanket, convertible fingerless mitts, insulated shoes, electric start, heated garage, kitty litter and salt for emergency traction.
7. All season tires, bald tires, windshield wash that freezes, to-go cups always taste like husband's coffee or plastic, cumbersome boots.
8. Heated roads, portable heater.
Interview #2 Aaron
1. Anytime I don't wreck and am warm. I enjoy the winter scenery while driving.
2. Wrecking, spinning on ice, snowstorms, and anytime I can't see the road.
3. Car, walk.
4. Generally avoid cold. travel less frequently as it gets colder.
5. Drive slower and more careful as conditions worsen.
6. Snow tires, scraper, windshield wash, emergency kit, warmer clothes, snowchains, ABS brakes.
7. A dash mounted defroster that couldn't even warm hands, brass ice scrapers that wreck windshields.
8. Personal aircraft, better tires, mini plow, flamethrower, snowblower attachment, liquid de-icer, mudflaps that resist snow buildup.
Interview #3 Wendy
1. My favorite time was walking home one night while it was snowing because it was quiet and beautiful.
2. Flying in winter-flights delayed or cancelled due to snow and ice build-up and weather, dealing with security, and crowded airports during the holidays.
3. walk, bus, skyways, bicycle
4. travel less often as it becomes colder. wear heavier clothes, and avoid going outside when it is really cold.
5. Won't travel during winter storms. Going by bus is easier than walking because there is less traffic for the drivers to deal with.
6. warm clothes, waterproof gloves, grippy boots, bicycle helmet, bus pass, thermos for tea.
7. Converse shoes- no traction, campus tunnel system is too convoluted to be feasible, bald tires, and fluffy winter boots- too hot.
8. boots with changeable warmness, heated outdoor public areas, nose warmer, goggles that can be worn for daily use, not just skiing.
Interview #4 Me!
1. Fat-Tire biking through the snow is always fun for me, and it has great traction. I once operated a bulldozer that blew hot air from the engine onto the floor of the dozer by my feet, which went up my pant legs and exited through the neck hole of my jacket. This kept my entire body and face warm using nothing more than engine heat.
2. Waited for the bus for over an hour in the cold with wet shoes. Sliding into ditches with my car, windows icing over while driving, batteries freezing, diesel engines being too cold to start in extreme cold.
3. Car, Truck(18-Wheeler), bike, bus, walk
4. I travel no matter the temperature, just need more layers of clothes. I have biked when it was -27.
5. Conditions will dictate how fast I travel and my mode of transportation. I will take the bus if it is not safe to bike, such as too much snow or high winds.
6. Wool garments, also prefer waterproof and windproof. Battery heating blanket, thermos, heavy lugged tires, snow chains for the truck, emergency snow shovel, ski goggles and helmet for biking, snowmobile jacket and gloves for biking.
7. Canvas top shoes- no grip and not waterproof, super heavy winter gear is warm but too cumbersome to be feasible, bald tires, an ice scraper that shattered in the cold, gloves that aren't waterproof, hats that do not cover the ears.
8. snowchains for bikes, quick on/off snowpants
My own experience with traveling in winter is quite extensive. I have driven cars, 18-wheel trucks, snowmobiles, bicycles, and sometimes even motorcycles!
The one thing I am always concerned about is traction. Even if I have really good tires and everything is running smoothly, a patch of ice can send anyone into the ditch if they aren't ready for it.
The other main concern of mine is staying warm. If I am going to drive, I will start the engine at least 15 minutes prior to the start of my trip to make sure the inside of the vehicle is warm and that the engine oil is warmed sufficiently to allow it to operate at its best. This will usually keep the windshield from suddenly frosting over on the inside as I drive, which is annoying and very dangerous as I can't see the road.
Also, keeping the headlights and windshield clean and clear are a major concern in winter because of the excess road grime and the drastically reduced daylight hours.
Now that I am a student at the University again, I a bike to class everyday from a few miles off campus. To make sure I can get through whatever weather to get to class on time, I ride a Fat-Bike.
The purpose of this bike is to have as much traction as possible in low traction conditions. It also looks super cool and is fun to ride.
Two years ago I was riding snowmobiles with a friend when I lost traction on a corner and drove straight into a tree. This particular experience has led me to seek the most traction possible in later years because I never want to be that close to a tree again!
Upon reviewing the information gathered from the interviews, and my own experience, I see a pattern with reduced traction being a problem no matter the transportation mode. The need to be warmer was also repeatedly expressed, along with the desire to have clothes that allow a greater range in heat containment/ventilation. Snow and ice build-up also seems to be a repeat problem for all forms of transportation. When driving, visibility and traction seem to be the main concerns.
My two problem statements are:
1. Gary, a college student who drives to work after class, needs a way to increase traction during icy conditions.
2. Stephanie, a 23 year-old college student who commutes by car, needs a way to reduce ice buildup on her vehicle.