AR LRT Experience
An attempt to push forward future-proof creative public transit experience
The Region of Waterloo has been looking at promoting the local trains through the GRT easyGO app. Local passengers have traditionally used GRT easyGO app to check out the train stop nearby and the estimate waiting time.
At the same time, Rogers is striving to push out 5G technology in KW Region. And they are able to ensure a 5G network running along LRT routes in Waterloo.
But what happens as soon as a passenger has been onboarded? How can we help commuters improve the on-train experience and optimize for their next ride? How can we help the Region of Waterloo and Rogers promote ION train and 5G?
Our design focus turned to the intersection of GRT app, 5G and ION train.
The Empathizing Process
Talking to Customers and Experts
We followed the user-centered design process by first conducting user research in the understanding phase.
In order to understand the target audience, we went on LRT and talked to the potential customers commuting by the ION trains that varied in size, frequency and type. By doing this, we could also observe and capture how they were experiencing the trains through the existing app and what value they took from it. Then we conducted surveys to the group of our target audience and interview 3 participants to get a deeper understanding of our practices.
Some of their major pain points came from the app loading speed and missed interaction of the local public transit.
Looking to make these dimensional descriptions a little deeper, we did some information gathering and created personas for further analysis.
At the same time, we did market research and talked to the experts in the 5G field to learn deeper about the space.
I also looked at other transit interaction to further my research on what an informational 5G public transit experience is comprised of. Some takeaways of what made them successful included:
Well structured navigation
Informative real time map that is efficient and actionable
Fare balance presented in the app
Reward system introduced at different milestones
Our main objective is to increase on-train interaction and mobile activity from GRT easyGO app. A large portion of our users are found to be using mobile to login to their accounts. We intend on doing this with 5G to communicate the value of the new network to consumers in an immersive experience that they can relate to on a day-to-day basis.
Starting with HMW
We created a list of ‘How Might We…’ questions to help us better align our user’s tasks and goals:
How might we allow users to access their most critical ride information through their mobile devices?
How might we provide passengers an experience that is fun, accessible, popular and 5G educational?
How might we provide a unique experience that attracts more people to choose ION train and download the GRT easyGO app?
The Redesign Process
Then I ran a card sorting session that can determine which functionalities of the dashboard should stay, be relocated or be eliminated based on the platform’s information architecture and how much value it was adding on the dashboard.
The first thing we did was identify the stakeholders involved in this solution so that we could satisfy their needs. Rogers, obviously wants to demo their 5G technology and spread their brand awareness. They have advised us to make an AR Public Transit experience with some sort of gamification. Therefore, our design needs a game.
Our Partner also advised us to focus on the LRT ION trains because Waterloo wants to highlight those right now. And of course, we knew about the issue they have with the displayed maps so we included the interactive map feature.
Our other stakeholder was the passengers. What do they do while on the train? We found that many like to look out the window and avoid talking to strangers by looking at their phones. So we wanted to make sure that if we had a display on the window of the train, that people could still look out the windows and have a clear view of what’s outside.
Then another important factor in our formative design phase was coronavirus. We wanted to try to minimize touching of the windows in the trains to avoid the potential spread of virus and have hand sanitizer nearby. Hence, the game is played on the phone and not directly on the windows as we originally planned.
According to the findings and internal feedback, we found most request were about combining the map and trip planner and add a balance feature.
Once we better understood our idea and explored our datasets, we began additional ideation for our vision. We quickly settled on the basic components and layout of our visualization through several quick rounds of sketches. We explored interactions around our map and how we could display states, metro areas, and cities that would allow users to click on different geographic areas and display the home value and rental price data. We also reviewed patterns that expressed different ways users could filter the data and modify the map and associated information.
After exploring various visualization ideas, we decided to deliver an interactive chart that allows users to explore a map, selecting a specific state or city/metro area and gain historical insight into the housing and rental prices. Users should be able to explore the data and see a chart that displays historical trends, with the ability to filter the data to only display one, or all, of the primary categories.
Interactive touch screens at the stations + AR windows + a mobile game that you play on the windows
Here you can see the whole user journey through the perspective of Sarah on a normal weekday of commuting. She begins and ends the journey with a mobile notification from the Littlest Hobo.
This solution hits the pain points of our persona and meets her expectation of a richer commuting experience, and more value for the money she spent.
It helps Sarah to plan her time better by providing live tracking and a live map.
It gives her more value for money by enriching the existing commuting experience with added features and providing information on events and promotions (to help her to save money).
And gives her a more enjoyable experience overall on her way to work.
Our user journey for this solution begins at the station. The GRT/LRT has had issues with people stealing their paper display maps. So we decided to include a digital map feature.
Here you can see the current paper maps on the left, and our new interactive solution on the right.
In our solution, a commuter can look at the map, zoom in, search for local events and promotions, and track their train in real-time.
The Station Screen also has a prompt from our mascot: The Littlest Hobo, to download the GRT App and interact with it on the train.
For those of you who don’t know, The Littlest Hobo is a Canadian icon from the 60s and 80s. A little nomad German Shepherd that would go from Canadian Town to Canadian town helping people and saving lives. He will really speak to our target age group of 25-44 year olds, while also being fun for those who do not recognize him.
The Littlest Hobo also fits within the Fido branding.
In our design, he continues to help Canadians by sending you a notification to hop on board when the train arrives and play on the GRT app!
And that is where you can continue your journey with The Littlest Hobo in our phone game.
The Littlest Hobo is an AR play game where you can play fetch with The Littlest Hobo or have them dance for treats. When you run out of balls and treats, you can earn more by playing trivia about Rogers and the Technology sector within the region.
There is also the option to win prizes if you are a Rogers/Fido user!
The window expands upon The Littlest Hobo game by having the pooch play on the windows when you throw a ball.
When no one is playing he will take a nap or he will chase away geese.
The USP of this game, as Lyndon eloquently put it: “It’s on the window, wouldn’t you want to play it?”
Other features on the windows is a map that tells you where the train is, as well as safety information appearing in the event of an emergency.
This solution aligns more with the Fido branding under the Rogers umbrella.We envision that this solution will become an active part of the daily commute for LRT passengers in the Kitchener/Waterloo area.It will enhance the daily commuting experience for an average Canadian consumer with 5G technology.
Our product includes an interactive GRT Map and AR Game that augments the mindless everyday commuting experience into an engaging, fully present experience.The fun, easy-to-play game and interactive navigation map brings our solution in direct competition to mobile navigation/map apps, and mobile games. But its USP is an immersive experience that allows commuters to get the most out of their transit ride.
This solution meets the criteria of our project brief by being:The first real time demonstration of 5G in public transit. Giving passengers an opportunity to experience 5G in their daily lives and learn about it.And of course, celebrates Canadian culture.This product was created for commuters who want a fun and informative daily commuting experience. The AR Public Transit solution uniquely solves this by providing an interactive GRT map, an AR game, and access to real-time information on the GRT and events/promotions local to the Waterloo region.
The next steps are to have a business plan made and for us meet with the Region of Waterloo to pitch our solution.