There is an equity issue with Malta’s bus system. While the urban settlements around the Grand Harbour enjoy the luxury of high interconnectivity, rural communities along the southern coast are isolated. As a result, increased car dependency has led to road fatalities almost 10 times higher than the rest of the EU.
The bus has been integral to Maltese culture since 1905, and continues to be the leading public transportation. While the buses are now free to increase use, but there is still more to be done. Through redesigned bus routes and app, I hope to urge policymakers and transport officials to rethink the current bus system, utilize UX/UI methods in transit redesign, increase rural mobility, and improve the user experience. The final proposal was presented at the Design & Technology Symposium hosted by Parsons School of Design.
After preliminary research, I crafted a user survey to collect public opinion. The survey was dispersed digitally and includes a consent agreement, demographic questions, questions on the bus interior, exterior, the bus routes, and the app. The results inform future designs, promoting community-based decision-making and inclusion.
With 45% of survey respondents neutral towards the existing app, the app’s main pain points involved inaccurate timetable data, no GPS tracking of buses, no helpful alerts, and no journey support during routes with transfers.
The following new app design provides transfer-oriented journey planning, bus live feeds at specific routes & bus stops, notification alerts, and electronic payment support.
To increase the bus system’s reach and efficiency, I am proposing a route map with as many overlaps as possible. Thus, providing more opportunities for interconnectivity and transfer. The reimagined route system allows destinations to be accessible by, at most, 2 routes. Furthermore, they are on preexisting roads with bus stops, so no additional roadwork is necessary.
This design moves away from the current bus route design of a spider web pattern, with every route meeting at a main bus terminal. Undoubtedly, a spider web system lacks efficiency as it assumes a single point of primacy.
Finally, I provided further context through a symposium talk streamed to the Parsons Design & Technology Youtube. The purpose is persuasion, demonstrating the deep research and thought process behind my designs. I highlight with supporting data visualizations the importance of community-based design decisions, the historic/economic context, and project feasibility.