Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

Using HCD to connect people and places

Discover how Purple Shirt and Waka Kotahi used digital prototyping to inform decision-making and enhance pedestrian safety.
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Waka Kotahi, NZ Transport Agency, are responsible for land transport across Aotearoa. They wanted to increase human-centred design (HCD) capability across their organisation, using HCD to support their goal of a land transport system that connects people, products and places for a thriving Aotearoa New Zealand.


As part of an ongoing HCD programme Waka Kotahi wanted to test whether digital prototyping and customer research could be used to create valuable insights to inform decision-making on infrastructure projects.


We ran an initial research project focused on improving pedestrian safety across a busy road in Christchurch, using a proposed overbridge. We designed and facilitated immersive workshops where participants performed tasks whilst navigating through a 3D model, considering different scenarios such as travelling with small children or commuting. 

Insights were synthesised into a comprehensive report, which delved into the learnings at both thematic and detailed levels. This report is now a valuable input for decision-making through design iterations as the bridge concept progresses into the detailed design phase.


  • Proven value within the organisation of the use of 3D prototyping and user testing for infrastructure projects.
  • Findings to inform decision-making around pedestrian experience and safety.

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

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