Design Help Needed: Look at Lyft’s Retrofitted Partitions for Drivers

Bespoke versus universal fit has always been a problem in the product design space. A glaring, recent example of this is how Honda engineers retrofitted some of their minivans with anti-COVID partitions, in order to better protect drivers while transporting sick passengers:



Contrast that with Lyft’s retrofit solution, which ships out to drivers for self-install and must by necessity fit a wide variety of vehicles with unknown dimensions. (During my time as a Lyft user, I was picked up in everything from a Toyota Prius to a Chevy Silverado.)

Lyft’s Installation Instructions:

Incredibly, the instructions from Lyft say one must leave at least two inches of space around the sides of the partition. Seems to me that air would flow handily around this space, to say nothing of the wide gap left between the two seats.

Another issue is that there is little provision to move either of the front seats forward without disrupting and perhaps cracking the shield at the fastening points.

I recognize the sharp challenge faced by whatever design team Lyft hired to execute the partitions. If the seatbelt mounting points could be avoided, Something like foam would go a long way towards sealing the air gaps on the side–but is it as easy to disinfect foam as it is hard plastic, and would it compromise a driver’s over-the-shoulder visibility?

I’m torn as to whether this is an earnest attempt on Lyft’s part to solve the problem of virus transmission, or if this is merely “security theater.”

Assuming the design was in earnest, do you all have any suggestions as to how this could be improved?