I’m a big supporter of public transit: the more people on buses, trains, and any other form of transportation means fewer cars, less pollution, and shorter traffic jams: especially valuable for a rapidly growing city like Calgary.
But public transit needs to be accessible in order to be used to its optimum. The current Calgary Transit site takes either knowing your stop number in advance, or six clicks to get a route and appropriate stop time for any bus, which is especially difficult on mobile devices.
I’d propose a redesign of the site, along with some changes to infrastructure and support. First, the site should be hosted with a reliable third party, such as Calgary’s Q9 Networks. (Shutdowns and maintenance at the City currently takes the site offline, while transit services continue to run).
The site should be responsive and accessible, usable on desktop and mobile devices alike. I would recommend that it be developed in HTML5, and that a mobile app version be developed at the same time. It might look something like this:
First, I’d simplify the site, to make it more customer-centric. Break Access Calgary, Careers, and School Services off into their own subdomains (e.g. access.calgarytransit.com), with links to them from the central site. Concentrate the site on the information most customers require.
The current site requires that users scroll through a long drop-down list of routes and stops. Most people don’t think that way: they plan local travel visually. In response, the site should automatically sense where customer is, together with the current time, and use that information as the default values to locate nearby routes.
- Technologies used:
When the user sets a destination that cannot be reached in a single trip, the site should use intelligent routing algorithms to suggest the best combination of transit services for the customer to make their trip, together with any walks between stops. Finally, allow users to save frequently used routes and schedules on their device.
- Technologies used:
- Local Storage API
I would suggest that these improvements would contribute to a greater and more effective use of transit services, and lower customer frustration. (And if Calgary Transit wants to grab the patronage of the retro gaming market, they could make the transit map look like Super Mario 3). I'll have more suggestions to improve the Calgary Transit infrastructure in the very near future.