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Increasing ridership for public transportation

A concept project case study for SFMTA

OVERVIEW

SFMTA oversees San Francisco’s Muni buses, Muni rail and cable cars. For this concept project, we were tasked with improving public transportation ridership.

 

TEAM

Cynthia Bach, Paola Gamba, and Sebastian Hunt

DURATION

2 week design sprint

METHODS

Surveys, secondary research, heuristic Evaluation, business evaluation, competitive/ comparative analysis, interviews, affinity mapping, journey mapping, design studio, wireframing and prototyping in Figma.

 

CHALLENGE

How might we increase Muni bus and rail ridership?

WHAT IS CAUSING PEOPLE TO TURN AWAY FROM PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION?

We interviewed users about their transportation habits and thinking process. We also got to know the apps that they preferred to use. 
We found that there are 3 barriers to riders choosing buses and rail.

DIFFICULTY BUYING AND USING TICKETS

 

“I didn't actually know how to check in on transport with the single passes that I bought.”

“Figuring out how to purchase tickets was like reading a foreign language."

UNPREDICTABLE DELAYS

 

“Constant inaccurate train arrival times leave me waiting on the platform for an extended period of time.”

 

“I wish there was a way to automatically see any slow downs ...even before I get on the Muni.”

SAFETY AND CLEANLINESS

 

“It’s not a great experience to ride it as it’s usually dirty.”

 

“Cleanliness is an issue.”

 

HOW MIGHT WE MAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION A MORE ATTRACTIVE OPTION?

The research led us to develop solutions that would be familiar to the user, making taking public transportation a less confusing experience.

 
 

REAL TIME NAVIGATION


“Availability of real time information led to a perceived decrease in wait time, which would lead to an increase in ridership.”


Given the prevalence of google maps, and the competition from rideshare companies, live maps are something familiar to the user, so we wanted to incorporate those into our solution. 


The existing home page on the Muni app is a login screen, with a small skip login option at the upper corner. This was like being greeted by a closed door. Incorporating the live map as the home page opens it up and prompts the rider to look for where they need to go. 

 
IMG_1169.PNG

Muni original home page

Our proposed home page

 

SIMPLER TICKET PURCHASING

Many users cited confusion purchasing tickets as a barrier to taking Muni. 

We wanted to simplify the ticket purchasing process. On the current Muni App, the screen that comes up when the rider presses the tab for tickets is an illustration that looks like there is an error. 

 

To rework this, we changed it so that the first thing users see is a prompt to choose the type of ticket they want to purchase when pressing on the ticket tab. 

 

Ticket purchasing clickable prototype

 

FAMILIAR TICKET WALLET

“People who have the option to drive are turned off by every point that is unfamiliar to them about the public transit system.”


The wallet would be a familiar and easy way for riders to organize and use the tickets. 

Having tooltips and directions on the screen when the wallet is empty will further help the user understand how to use the feature. 

 

Ticket wallet clickable prototype

 

IN DEPTH REPORTING

Since comfort and cleanliness are such an important part of a rider’s experience, we wanted to update the feedback feature so that riders could give more specific information to the discomforts that they face on a rider journey. 


The Muni App does have a “rate my ride” feature. It is gamified and easy for the rider to press thumbs up and thumbs down for 5 specified topics (travel time, vehicle condition, comfortable ride, rider etiquette, and employee courtesy). However, this limits the type of feedback the rider can give. 


In our solution, we included the topics that the Muni App has, and incorporated a text box and camera/ photo capability so that the rider can choose to add more specific information.

 

Report issue wireframes

 

RESULTS AND REFLECTIONS

Further usability testing of all the features that we came up with are needed to improve and refine our concepts. 
In order for any digital solutions to work, there are real world things that have to be addressed to make public transportation more comfortable and appealing to the general public.

©2020 by Cynthia Bach.