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ASU students have it made in the shade

Shade is key element in ASU student team's winning bus stop design.
Sundial served a inspiration for bus stop design, to provide shade at any time.
November 8, 2017

Phoenix to install 400 bus stops using industrial design quartet's design

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2017, click here.

Four Arizona State University students are about to make the lives of millions of people easier and more comfortable.

There were more than 32 million bus rides taken in Phoenix last year, according to Valley Metro figures. Soon some of those passengers will be waiting at stops designed by the quartet to provide much more shade at all times of day.

“If we can make it easier and make their lives a little better, that’s a good feeling,” team member Ethan Fancher said.

Their new bus stop design won a contest open to industrial design students at ASU last academic year.

Seniors Fancher, Dan Duquette, Derek Smoker and sophomore Erlend Meling — all industrial design majors in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts — worked on the project.

They haven’t even graduated, and they’ve just completed a project any established firm would kill for, in the fifth-biggest city in the country, that will be highly visible to millions of people every day.

“It’s still really surreal,” Fancher said.

“I feel like it’s all downhill from here,” Smoker said.

Bus stop prototype

A prototype of the bus stop that will soon be installed around Phoenix sits on Dan Duquette's desk in ASU’s Design North building. The physical prototype, which is constructed mainly out of wood, was designed by Ethan Fancher, a senior industrial design major. One inch of the model equates to a foot of the finished product. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

Their stop looks sleek, but as anyone who has waited for a bus in Phoenix during the summer will tell you, it’s shade that counts.

Shade was the top priority. The stops also had to be ADA-compliant. Being vandal-proof was another necessity.

The stop provides shade no matter what time of day or what angle the sun is striking it. “We took inspiration from a sundial,” Fancher said. “No matter where the sun is, there will always be shade.”

The team ran the design through a computer simulation of 12 hours of sun. It provides shelter at any time of day, when the sun is at any angle.

“They appreciated the thought we put into it,” Fancher said.

There’s an alcove to the side so wheelchair users can wait under cover.

Seating has yet to be decided, but it will be individual, not bench-style. “We found out in research most people won’t sit next to each other on a bench,” Fancher said. “It’s this weird human-nature thing.”

The stops will be made of steel. Colors haven’t been finalized, but the quartet likes a rust finish. Even if it gets vandalized with a Sharpie, it won’t stand out.

Damaged stops will be replaced first, then stops with the highest ridership. Bus stops with no shelter at all will be next on the list. It’s a modular design that can be added to, suiting crowded stops like those in front of high schools.

The city has a five-year plan to have 400 bus stops with their design.

“One of their main focuses is to replace the bus stops with no features with these,” Fancher said.

The team worked on the design for two months. Competition rules limited them to 20 hours of work per week per person. Groups of students competed and presented. The city whittled the choices down to five finalists. Fancher’s team found out they won last May.

After they won, the team met several times with a citizens transportation committee before the design went to the city council for approval.

“It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be,” Smoker said.

“We thought it was going to be very dry,” Fancher said.

There was a considerable amount of back and forth with the citizens committee. “We expected that,” Fancher. “We’re trained for that.”

City councilman Daniel Valenzuela told the team in a meeting that whether they leave or stay in Phoenix, they will always be able to point to their bus stops with pride.

Top photo: ASU industrial design students (from left) Derek Smoker, Erlend Meling, Ethan Fancher and Dan Duquette hold a prototype of the bus stop they designed. Their design will be used for new bus stops around Phoenix. This includes covering stops that do not currently have a structure as well as the new stops that will be created in Phoenix’s bus route expansion. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU News


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Center wants to expand understanding of 'moral injury' to audience beyond military

November 8, 2017

ASU's Center on Future of War to host event on condition, a debilitating injury resulting from violation of sense of right and wrong

Last year the Center on the Future of War announced Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Wood as an ASU Future of War Senior Fellow at New America, who introduced the term “moral injury” to the public lexicon through his 2016 book, “What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars.”

This year the center is taking it a step further by making the term — which means a violation of one’s sense of right or wrong in battlefield conflicts or military environments — the focus of an international conference next week.

Moral Injury: Toward an Internal Perspective” takes place in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 13 and will feature deans, directors, lecturers and experts from the United States, England and Australia, all in an effort to deepen their capacity to make sense of the experience of armed conflict.

To give more clarity to this issue and what the conference will cover, ASU Now turned to Daniel Rothenberg, a professor of practice who co-directs the center with CNN senior analyst and ASU faculty member Peter Bergen.

Question: How do moral injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) differ? They seem similar.

Answer: Moral injury differs from PTSD in that it isn't associated with a physical trauma but is rather a debilitating psychological or spiritual injury resulting from the transgression of deeply held moral beliefs and expectations. Importantly, the therapies that have been developed for PTSD generally do not appear to work for moral injury, which in itself is a good reason to understand the differences between the two conditions.  

Understanding the differences is complicated by the fact that occasionally the same incident gives rise to both conditions, making both treatment and diagnosis difficult. In many cases, however, moral injury often arises from a long sequence of events or experiences that do not give rise to PTSD symptoms. All this taken into account, however, it is still the case that moral injury is still being researched and defined. 

Man in beige suit

Daniel Rothenberg

Q: What is your hope with this conference?

A: We hope our conference will build upon David Wood's book; indeed, he helpfully provided a chapter for the report, “Moral Injury: Towards an International Perspective,” that we are releasing at our Nov. 13 conference. Because moral injury is so destructive of veterans, their families, and the communities that support them, we hope that our ongoing focus on this category of injury will encourage continued progress in the identification and treatment of individuals who may have suffered such an injury.  

In addition, this conference and our report both introduce for the first time an explicit multicultural approach to moral injury, which we think is a substantial contribution to research, analysis and mitigation in this area. That's because the conference and the report are products of the PLuS Alliance, which includes ASU, University of New South Wales and King's College London.

Q: In addition to military personnel, you are making an attempt to introduce the term to medical and health-care workers, theologians, journalists and uninformed personnel and peacekeepers in other parts of the world. Why is it important for them to understand the term going forward?

A: Moral injury as we are approaching it often occurs on the battlefield, but its effects are more frequently felt upon the return of the injured warrior to his or her family, and community, and they can last for many years, even many decades, as experience with Vietnam War veterans shows. 

Moreover, the phenomenon is a complex one and extends beyond the boundary of any single domain, and treatment may well involve not just traditional health-care workers, but spiritual and theological leaders, and even the community as a whole. This explains the broad collection of disciplines and discourses that we are encouraging to coalesce into a community of practitioners who can effectively address the many ways in which moral injury may be expressed.

Q: What will be some of the highlights of this conference?

A: Among the highlights will be the video presentation of Dr. Michael Crow, who will discuss the importance of addressing moral injury, and the particular strengths that the PLuS Alliance brings to such a complex task. The panel that forms the core of the conference includes a number of luminaries in this growing field, including David Wood, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on moral injury in 2012 and the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction for his book on the topic; Ed Barrett, director of research at the U.S. Naval Academy's Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership; William P. Nash, director of psychological health, United States Marine Corps; and Brad Allenby, Lincoln Professor of Engineering and Ethics and President's Professor, at ASU.  

Q: What is the center’s ultimate hope when it comes to use and understanding of moral injury?

A: We hope that the Moral Injury Initiative, which will be under the Center on the Future of War, will become an important contributor to better understanding moral injury, and to identifying ways in which it can be prevented, and treated when it does occur.  

Top photo courtesy of Pixabay

Reporter , ASU News