Amit Garg
UX Research and Design
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Atlanta Public Transit: MARTA

Solving the Last-Mile Problem in public transportation

This project won 2nd place at the Convergence Innovation Competition. Read about it here

Executive Summary

Chicago's got the L. Boston, the T. Bay Area touts BART. Here in the ATL, we give our trust to MARTA.

Although MARTA's bus system has more than 100 lines, it's still a challenge to get people within walking distance of their final destination, or to the bus stop in the first place. We call this the "First Mile/Last Mile" problem. By taking a service design approach, a natural solution emerged that connects MARTA riders to other city transit options like rideshares, bikes, and scooters - giving riders more choice in how they move about their city.

My Contributions

Formative UX Research

Survey Design

Journey Mapping

Brainstorming and Ideation

Wireframing and Prototyping

 

Research

Public transit for many people is a primary means of transportation, moving masses of people from where they are, to where they need to go. But, getting people to and from a train/bus station remains a challenge for almost every transit system in the world. We call this the 'First Mile/Last Mile Problem.

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From Data to Insight

ReliableRiders need a service they can depend on. If a bus is delayed, they need to know about it. If there are other options, they need the information to make a decision. 

ConnectedMore people would use MARTA if it got them directly to their final destination, or very close to it. They need options for getting to and from MARTA at low cost.

SeamlessA connected transit experience should be seamless -- riders shouldn't feel the transition points between steps in their journey. 

Developing Empathy

Understand the MARTA rider. Who are we designing for? What do they use MARTA for? How do they get to /from a bus stop? How far are they willing to walk?

Define the gain and pain pointsWhat does MARTA do well? What do people want changed? What would increase ridership and better the overall experience?

Understand the business constraintsHow can we assure MARTA's buy-in? How can we leverage MARTA open APIs and use them to provide value to MARTA riders?

 
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People generally know what their final destination is when riding transit. That's why the first page of the app asks "Where to?". 

The app will split a rider's journey by transition, and pull real-time data from various transportation options, including rideshares, bikes, scooters, and MARTA. As more mobility solutions become available in the city, riders will have that many more options to meet their riding needs. 

 

 

Once done choosing riding options, riders see a map view that shows all the integrated services relevant to their trip. For example, by linking to MARTA's location APIs, we can overlay live bus and train positions. And, an overall cost of the trip gives riders an economical mindset.

Mobility services like Lyft, Uber, and Relay Bike have also developed similar APIs, that when plugged into our framework can give riders accurate cost and time-to-service information. 

 

By connecting riders to all the mobility options a city has to offer, we can help encourage the use of public transportation, and maybe free up a bit of traffic, if we're lucky.

Impact

MARTA leaped at the opportunity to take this project from their hack-a-thon and integrate this into their On The Go app. We are currently working with developers to build the core functionality of the app and get it into the hands of real riders.