Service Design Evaluation:

San Diego International Airport

How do you seamlessly redirect plane passengers to a new rental car center—without impacting their travel?

A fast turnaround doesn’t quite describe the pace of this project. With 50,000 passengers each day, our team had two days to identify and solve the challenges the new Rental Car Center (RCC) created for passenger wayfinding to and from the new RCC at the San Diego International Airport. Working under Z Research, the Hopscotch Labs team conceptualized and participated in the execution of the turnkey research process to effectively address challenges and make the transition process simpler for the Airport’s customers.
Client: San Diego International Airport
Research Lead: Z. Research
  • Participant Recruiting + Management
  • Study Design
  • Research Support

Evaluating the Passenger’s Experience

The Airport had a short window to make changes to the passenger experience between the Rental Car Center (RCC) and the airport terminals. Research participants, recruited for their design and technical expertise, experienced a typical passenger journey to and from the RCC.
At each stage, the “brain trust” was given the opportunity to take notes and discuss issues they encountered and the opportunities they envisioned. A final shared brainstorm, brought consensus to the challenges encountered, and cohesion to all potential solutions. Having the client team participate in the research allowed for immediate implementation of our brain trust’s recommendations.

What we uncovered:

Lacking clear information, participants relied on past experience to find their car in the parking lot, not expecting the building to be a garage. People rely on prior knowledge and the available information to guide them in their decision making. Nowhere within our participants’ experience with the new RCC did they learn or expect that it was a garage and not a lot.
What this meant, literally: 3 participants went where we did not expect, the parking lot or the wrong bus. The implications for launch day were staggering, and of immediate concern to the client’s team.
The bright San Diego conditions made industry standard signage impossible to read. On multiple occasions, participants noted environmental conditions as barriers to a sign’s ease of use. San Diego’s greatest feature made navigating impossible whether exiting the dark RCC to find an unlit sign bathed in bright sunlight, or trying to find when the next bus is coming under the sun’s glare on video monitors.
The implications for design and facility planners: identify solutions to manage significant glare.

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