Projects—Septa® Regional Rail and Rail Transit Map Study

Challenge
The purpose of this concept study was to improve the visual content organization of Septa® Regional Rail and Rail Transit Map, as well as Fare Passes.

As Mark Ovenden points out in his 2007 book Transit Maps of the World, the current Septa® map represents “neat, stylish, but slightly busy diagram [and] getting from place to place in Philadelphia can be quite a complicated affair! Add to the mix the complex politics and funding issues that abound in this city, and you could be forgiven for being a little confused.”

Getting from point A to point B, particularly on the Regional Rail lines is furthermore complicated by the fact that the Regional Rail trains (departure and arrival) are dependent entirely on the timetable schedule. The system commuters need to have access to the timetable schedules, which show transfer times and destinations for various trains within the Regional Rail system.

This presents a scheduling and logistical challenge to the commuters, as access to printed timetables may be limited, since many ticket station offices close in the early afternoon. Passengers often have to rely on conductor’s explanations or station announcements, which may present a challenge, particularly for passengers who do not easily understand conversational English.

The visual navigation approach proposed in this study allows for clarity of message and resolves many timetable-dependency and user-navigation issues. The new concept map redesign takes into consideration the challenges found in the current map, and introduces typographical hierarchy, grid system, iconography, color coding, and visual navigation.

˜This concept study is not endorsed or sponsored by Septa® or any of its affiliates

Project Objectives
The process was divided into two stages. The Research and Planning included interviews with commuters. The first stage of the project, which took little over six months, was followed by the Design stage, consisting of the following two phases:

Phase One

Phase Two

Introductory Sequence—Front Page and Map
The new Graphic User Interface offers clear, clean and compositionally balanced solution, allowing for quick access to key information and navigational components. The new map design can be easily previewed in vertical and horizontal formats, and can be viewed on tablet and smartphone format.

Navigational Sequence—Point “A” to Point “B”
The “Trip Planner” interface allows the end user to get clear and concise directions from their point of origin to their destination. Additional information, such as ADA accessible facilities, ticket office locations and parking are incorporated in the new UI. Other pertinent information, such as transfer points and connecting routes are shown.

Regional Rail—Schedule
The new Regional Rail Schedule interface allows for clear, concise and immediate access to the schedule information for individual rail lines. The passengers also have access to other important trip planning information, such as route termination points and transfer points destinations.

GPS Location Positioning and Service Alerts
The new Graphic User Interface allows for visually enhanced and user-friendly GPS location positioning, enabling commuters to find various points of interest as well as transfer points, ticket office locations, etc. The Service Alert UI provides real-time updates on train delays, service emergencies and other information, which may adversely affect the trip.

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