Process Outline

This is the schedule for the 14 week project. Each phase has been explained in detail below. Click and explore.

This project was about strengthening ARC’s most important symbol, the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV).

Click on each stage to see more

They wanted new ideas for the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV). This ERV is a key aspect of the RESPOND part of their 3 fold mission- PREVENT, PREPARE AND RESPOND.

The current platform for the ARC’s ERV ( Ford F350 diesel platform) is due to be discontinued and unsupported. This has motivated ARC interest in finding a real solution for their ongoing needs ASAP. This project in collaboration with art center was seen as a way to complement their inward view with the inspired views of the students before they define their procurement plans for the next platform.

ERV in the school parking lot

Key decision makers from both Los Angeles and New York chapters, ARC volunteers, and ERV drivers were interviewed. They left us a ERV on the campus for us to poke, prod and test mockups.

Shelter at downtown LA

There was a fire in down-town LA, within 3 weeks of the start of the project. We could see the ERV in action at the Red Cross shelter here.

Leader coach builders

ERVs are based on fire-engines and ambulances. But these are built for specifications that are much higher than necessary for the ERV. Their latest vehicles have a unibody chassis, which is much lighter with only a slight reduction in overall interior space.

Volunteer training at LA HQ

On our visit to the American Red Cross’ Los Angeles headquarters, we attended training for volunteers. It was an intense session, understanding the brass tacks of what volunteers have to know and experience.

Step 1: Blue post-its represent insights, clustered by affinity.
Step 2: Green post-its for specific area in the system.
Step 3: Pink post-its represent opportunities, close to the insight that led to it. affinity diagram red cross
We went on to connect the areas with thread, to map the flow of resources through the system.

1. Clarify the ARCs positive role in the mind of the public through the ERV

First impressions of the ERV are that of a medical truck or fire engine. Better branding is critical to donations and a feminine image to convey care and hope.
2. Remove barriers, improve the interaction between the client and the volunteer

The window of maximum interaction and support between the volunteer and the client is the ERV. This is not helped by ERV’s current design.
3. Improve ergonomics of the ERV and its systems for the volunteer experience

Research discovered stress and fatigue for volunteers. This affects the quality of service offered by the volunteers.
4. Increase the ERVs role in promoting prevention and preparedness

Ernie the ERV has been loved in the past. Branding during ‘down-time’ ie. when they are not actively involved in disaster response.
5. Reduced ERV operational cost

Increase the people capacity of the ERV, improve vehicle body to save on the weight, fuel and maintenance cost too.

We used future study tools to make three scenarios for design.
1. If things kept on the same course as now : A
2. If things were changed for the better: B
3. Utter mayhem: Q
An EXTREMELY detailed blog post about it is here.


~ Smooth brand transition to “ONE RED CROSS”
~ Morgan + freightliner custom electric chassis: Iconic look for the ERV
~ Space for supplier co-branding on side panel of ERV
~ Roof top sign age: to send a clear message of ARC role
~ Use the ERV during the down to spread the message of preparedness and to promote the mission and visibility of red cross to encourage donation
~ Turn the interior of the ERV into a mobile museum/ space that people can walk through
~ The ERV is a trailer (such as Airstream base camp) so it can be deposited with lesser maintenance
~ Tow vehicle can ride out in “Search and serve missions”
~ ERV trailer can use any conventional tow car so volunteers can be comfortable/ bring back supplies


Click the image to see the final results that this process lead to.