With the horrendous traffic in Metro Manila draining us of our energy and patience daily, the idea of getting around the city in bicycles is becoming more and more appealing. However, a country like the Philippines remains unsafe for cyclists, what with the absence of safe roads and stringent traffic regulations. But what if there was an app that will connect all cyclists here, giving up-to-date information on the traffic and road situation in Metro Manila, while binding together the cycling community?
This is what designer and illustrator Trisha Tobias had in mind. Having lived in Norfolk, Virginia for five years, Tobias loved the convenience of using a bicycle to reach her destination, be it the office or the grocery. “It was very convenient and safe, as motorists in that general area seem aware and vigilant of cyclists on the road,” Tobias said, explaining how Virginia promotes the use of bikes.
Tobias' "We Are Here" app carries information important for every cyclist such as weather tracking, an event planner, and maps.
After hearing news of a cyclist dying after being hit by a reckless motorist in Metro Manila last year, Tobias conceptualized and designed an app called “We Are Here,” which aims to promote visibility for cyclists by connecting a community of cyclists and educating both cyclists and motorists on proper road use. “It is a declaration to both sides to be conscientious of each other if they want change,” Tobias said.
“The app connects cyclists who share the same route, establish a common spot for them to meet up, and creates a path towards an area near their destinations,” she explains. In addition, her app will let users create events and meetups to engage fellow cyclists in their respective communities.
Tobias (holding the Lucille Tenazas Special Award) at the 2016 adobo Design Awards Asia.
This noble app of hers is not only winning in goals, but also in graphic design, bagging an award at this year's adobo Design Awards Asia. Established graphic designer Lucille Tenazas took notice of Tobias’ use of a half bike logo, citing that it establishes the main function of Tobias' app. "The logo is both a unique mark that I can use in succeeding materials, and something literal and easily recognizable,” Tobias explains.
Beyond the app, Tobias envisions the usage of her half bike logo for a Facebook community and outdoor campaigns promoting cycling in Metro Manila.
In addition to the app, Tobias plans to use her half bike logo for posters and tarpaulins, along with a Facebook page that will connect all bikers in Metro Manila. While the app is still in its conceptualization stage, Tobias looks forward to working with local government and bicycle groups in further developing “We Are Here” to be rolled out in public here in the country. “Multiple bikers together provide increased visibility as compared to just one biker,” Tobias notes, adding that she hopes her app will educate and promote the use of bicycles in the Philippines as a means of decongesting traffic.
Her learnings from conceptualizing an app that will connect bikers? “Designers have the potential to create something good and connect this work with people,” Tobias said. “3D printing, virtual reality, the rise of mobile apps, [and] the borderless social media: These are new spaces to build on; we just have to be proactive.”
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"We Are Here" concept photos provided by Trisha Tobias