New York and LA Metro are now competing for user experience as they follow the path of TfL (Transport for London) by introducing navigation apps, as reported by Katie Deighton on WSJ. [New York LA Metro London TfLDeighton]
- New York and LA Metro are improving user experience with navigation apps
- The MTA’s digital map includes real-time data for commuters to plan their commute
- The goal is to attract more people to use public transport and reduce car usage
- LA Metro added a feature to the Transit app for bus crowding and a “rescue ride” system
- Upgrading the app can enhance the experience for riders
- TfL (Transport for London) is a good example of a revamped navigation system with the TfL Go app
After the tough competition in price and speed, NY and LA metro is now competing via providing the best possible user experience to their commuters. In a recent report published in The Wall Street Journal by Katie Deighton, New York, and LA metro systems are competing with each other like never before.
In the fall of 2020, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NYC) launched a digital map of the subway to make things transparent and easy for the residents. It was an attempt to see and embrace how fast and complicated the map is, and yet efficient. The digital version of the map also included real-time data on the trains to see which trains are close to them, and which tracks may be closed, so that they can plan their commute accordingly.
In the past, there wasn’t anything like that. People would traditionally wait for trains and hope they’d get there on time. That is now about to change as the competition surges and the quality of commute is being demanded to be better day by day. The transition towards digitalization in subway systems will allow the public to plan their day ahead without having to worry about hiccups in their daily commuting. [New York LA Metro London TfLDeighton]
The MTA’s approach to making commuting more digitalized is an attempt to attract more people into using public transport instead of cars, which may cost more and are not good for the environment. Additionally, the new ride-sharing apps are giving tough competition to public transport, so, these agencies had to look at the options and provide the public with what they wanted.
“The cold water that’s been splashed on the face of a lot of transit agencies over the past decade is the realization that we need to pay attention to our riders’ needs, and we need to build an experience that is competitive,” said the Senior Director of Marketing Strategy of LA Metro, John Gordon.
What moved people from public transport to their own cars is the confusing routes and unnecessary delays as well as track closures. The new digital version of the map will solve such problems so that people know what tracks are closed and where the trains will be going.
“This is a way, hopefully, of bringing those folks back into the system,” said Chief Customer Officer of MTA, Sarah Meyer. As the MTA revamps the map, more transit authorities are expected to follow in its footstep.
TfL (Transport for London) is a good example of a transit authority that revamped the navigation system and launched an app called TfL Go. The digital system since then has been great and facilitating Londoners and their commutes.
What’s more surprising is that such systems were proposed back in the day, but were dumped due to no interest by the authorities. According to Juan Mature, deputy director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, similar apps did appear on the app stores but didn’t catch the attention of anyone.
“These apps just fell out of favor and ended up being removed from the marketplace,” stated Matute.
Now, apps are needed more than ever because the traditional system is way outdated. A good way is to make mobile apps and integrated Google Maps. This will allow the apps to leverage the groundbreaking features of Google Maps and use it to their advantage. Not only that but the agencies can also incorporate new features as well as improve the existing navigation system.
Another good use of the apps is to encourage the public to use sustainable modes of transportation. “We could nudge you away from a busy station and into more active travel, or we could nudge you to adjust the time you’re traveling on the Tube so we can spread out the peaks in service,” said Julie Dixon, a TfL executive.
The L.A. Metro wants to improve the experience of taking the bus, so they introduced a feature in the Transit app that informs users of bus crowding. They are also trying out a new “rescue ride” system that suggests other transportation options like Uber when a bus is canceled. [New York LA Metro London TfLDeighton]
Some individuals believe that the L.A. Metro should prioritize fixing significant problems such as outdated trains and financial problems rather than improving the app. The L.A. Metro collaborated with the Transit app to enhance the app for riders at no cost. Although it is crucial to improve bus performance, upgrading the app can also enhance the experience for riders.
“One of the reviews on the App Store was ‘A five-year-old could have made this… The best thing we did was hand the responsibility of developing a wayfinding app over to people who are really good at it,” L.A. Metro’s Mr. Gordon said.
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