Our story on how we built GoTransit
Becoming a Part of an Evolution
Seeing the evolution that Triangle Transit has gone through, we are pleased to be part of the new GoTransit. We worked on the Triangle Transit site and app way back in 2012, and we’re exceptionally grateful to have been able to grow and work with the GoTransit team once again.
When a partnership between five local public transit systems was forged, building one unifying brand was their first order of business - GoTransit. Each GoTransit partner provides bus transportation in their designated area. The creation of the partnership strived to eliminate rider confusion while increasing their options and also strengthening the perception and reputation of transit in the area.
Our part in this endeavor was to design and develop seven sites, one for each GoTransit partner and GoSmart, a platform where users can educate themselves on all commute options like biking, carpooling, and vanpooling, hence their addition of the GoSmart brand.
GoTriangle (formerly Triangle Transit)
GoDurham (formerly Durham Area Transit)
GoRaleigh (formerly Capital Area Transit)
Behind The Build
The approach to designing the experience focused on putting the riders and potential riders first. During the planning phase, we constantly asked ourselves what would be most important for riders to ensure that we created a more intuitive way of getting around the site.
An important aspect of the project was user testing. Since we had minimal budget and time allotted for user testing, getting useful information became a challenge. "To make this happen, we ended up creating a user survey with overly simplified questions that can elicit useful insights from the users," Mary Taylor, Webonise Project Manager who worked with GoTransit all throughout the build, explained. "The questionnaire had to be short and broad enough to get the information without boring the respondents. In fact, we’re working on another survey right now and we’re going to use some of the questions used from the previous survey (and new ones) to see how much the user experience has improved after the launch of the new sites,” she added.
From the start, the idea was to build GoTransit and treat it as the mother site for all partners. The challenge was having individual partners come together and share a central theme and backend. How can they use that central theme without losing their individuality? How can we improve the riders’ experiences on each partner’s site? These were the questions that we asked ourselves and here are the solutions that we came up with:
The design theme will transcend throughout all GoTransit partner sites but each one will have varying degrees of differences to ensure each brand retains its individuality and has the content they need
Since they came to us with an already unified rebrand, we focused on that with the design and used their specified colors to distinguish each brand and compliment their new look
We determined that the best way to approach creating the sites was to create the responsive screen sizes side by side
An intuitive map is critical for this project, which we built through a customized Google API. This incredibly enhanced the user experience, just as we intended for it. Development features include:
One backend CMS with varying permissions for their team members to simplify their process
Pushing the limits of Google Maps API by mapping routes onto sprawling and skewed roads
Enhanced user functionality of MyRide: save often-used routes, stops, and trips by clicking on the ‘favorite’ icon
Taking advantage of the GTFS files that are usually shared with Google instead of relying on Google’s functionalities for bus schedules to display convenient filters for users to sort bus stops by certain days and direction
One of the main features of this project is the Trip Planner which lets users coordinate their trip. It displays all the available information on each route, connections, and the corresponding travel time. This is a great feature for new and seasoned transit users alike. While the Maps & Schedules page shows all of the bus routes in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area in an intuitive map. Users can click on each stop of a route to see the name, number, other possible connections, and an ETA (estimated time of arrival) if the bus is currently running. The hourly bus schedule is displayed for every available route on every device so riders can plan their schedules ahead of time.
“Working on the mobile version of the Maps & Schedules page was quite an experience for me,” said Mary Taylor, Project Manager at Webonise. Mary was also the point-person for the GoTransit project, and worked with the GoTransit client all-throughout the build. “As a commuter myself, I know how important having quick access to the bus schedule is in my area. Back in college, I had to wait at the bus stop for a long time because there is no way of knowing when the next bus is reaching my stop. But with this functionality, I no longer have to wonder whether or not I read the schedule correctly or if the bus is behind, I can simply check on my phone,” she added.
We’re extremely proud of this build and incredibly grateful for GoTransit in believing in what we can do and trusting us once again. To our GoTransit client, cheers to more projects for us to collaborate with!
Note: C-TRAN (Cary) and Chapel Hill Transit are still undergoing development. Both will be launched soon.