Public transit App redesign

Waterloo region GRT app redesign & 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. However, there is a constant voice asking Waterloo GRT to redesign the app. My development team would like to dive deeper into this user request.


App Current Usage

  • nearby train stations

  • estimate waiting time


But what happens as soon as a passenger has been onboarded? How can we help commuters improve the experience from "ready to get on the train" to "already on the train"? How can we help the Region of Waterloo and Rogers promote ION train and 5G? 

card_AR Public Transit.png

Design Process

Group 50.png

The Empathizing Process

Preliminary Research - Observing, talking to Customers and Experts, interviews

Screen Shot 2021-09-01 at 11.53.50 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-09-01 at 11.49.04 AM.png
a. Riders has been struggling with the app navigation because of too many pages. 

                 Current app has too many pages to navigate. When I'm walking while checking the app, I just want to find info real quick instead of continuing to drill down and back for basic info.

- Rider that commutes from home to work
Quotation mark
b. Riders are seeking for a simple and easy-to-use "map" feature that they can precisely plan their trips through the app

                "Map" feature is confusing and hard to use...It won't even show a stop by typing in its location. 

- Rider that is not very familiar with Waterloo region
Quotation mark
Quotation mark
c. Riders like to do some small tasks when they have interaction with their phones on the train.

                I'd like to avoid reading lots of texts on the screen when I'm on the train...probably do some small things, like checking out the new shops, sharing something with my friends, booking something or just listening to a podcast.

Rider that commutes from home to work

Secondary Research

  • If information affects people's routes and time, it needs to be presented before the commute. (Pang. et al. 2019) 

  • Users were interested about the entire journey, including walking to transit stop. (Pang. et al. 2019)

  • Participants valued information about the start and end of their routes given its geographic importance to them (e.g., at home or work). (Pang. et al. 2019)

Target Audience Demographics

  • Elderly

  • People with accessibility needs

  • Low-income people

  • Teenagers

  • University Students

  • Young Professionals

  • Families

  • Tourists

  • People without a license

  • Safe Ride Home Program

Screen Shot 2021-08-29 at 11.57.01 PM.png


Screen Shot 2021-08-29 at 11.57.29 PM.png


Screen Shot 2021-08-29 at 11.57.18 PM.png

Household size

household income

Household income

Research Synthesis Process

Looking to make these dimensional descriptions a little deeper, we did some information gathering and created personas for further analysis.

2x2 Matrix

2x2 matrix

Main Objective

A large portion of our users are found to be using mobile to login to their accounts. Our main objective is to increase interaction and mobile activity from GRT easyGO app on a day-to-day basis

Starting with HMW

How might we allow users to access their most critical ride information through their mobile devices?

How might we provide a unique experience that attracts more people to choose ION train and download the GRT easyGO app?

The Redesign Process

Card Sorting
card sorting.png
Internal Feedback

Some of the feedback we got back was:

  • When a passenger wants to check out the balance, he/she has to log in on the website though the browser.  

  • A big feature request was the ability to merge the trip planner, nearby station, favorites into the map.

  • When a passenger wants to check on the local news, they will go to the news app instead of the GRT app.

Iteration & Paper Prototyping 

During the process, we found out some major pain points and what an interactive public transit app is comprised of:

  • Well structured navigation

  • Informative real time map that is efficient and actionable

  • Fare balance presented in the app

  • Reward system introduced at different milestones

4 areas for potential improvement of our original dashboard:

  • Improve the map

  • Improve navigation

  • Improve actionability

  • Improve notification



Redesign decisions


Reflection & positioning 

Early stage product = more flexibilities but heavier workload

It was the very first time for me working as the only designer in a startup team. I was able to have more space and flexibilities to explore design options and user interactions but I also needed to mock up every single screen for development. Although it was tons of work, I practiced designing flows that are usually ignored in short-term school projects, such as on-boarding, account settings, and profile setup flows. I've gained a holistic view of a mobile application in terms of end-to-end experience and product strategies.

Project Positioning

We envision that this solution will become an active part of the daily commute and enhance the daily commuting experience for LRT passengers in the Kitchener/Waterloo area. 


The next steps are to keep iterating and go through validation testing and get feedback from the Region of Waterloo.