Flinders Street Station Digital Displays
- Meld Studios and Public Transport Victoria (PTV)
We wanted to make it easier for travellers to navigate public transport.
Flinders Street Station is the busiest station in Melbourne. Trains regularly change departure platforms at short notice. Even familiar travellers need help as they move through the station. The previous displays were confusing and frustrating, forcing unfamiliar travellers to seek support.
Prototyping and testing with passengers and PTV designers, we rethought the digital information experience, creating a blueprint for how digital information can be rolled out to stations across the rail network. It draws on and feeds into the broader wayfinding strategy for public transport in Victoria.
It was not possible to test new designs in-situ so we simulated the Flinders Street Station experience in a warehouse, using signage, digital information displays and ambient train station soundtracks to set the mood.
We involved 30 people with a range of demographics, backgrounds, accessible needs, experiences and knowledge of the train network. 10 participants had accessible needs.
Across 5 days we ran daily test sessions, iterating new prototypes overnight. This generated highly actionable recommendations for the Flinders Street displays and for how digital information will be rolled out to stations across the rail network.
110,000 passengers pass through Flinders Street Station every weekday. Many are commuters, coming through every day on their way to work. Many are tourists and other visitors who aren’t familiar with the existing PTV information displays.
The impact of seemingly small disruptions to the departure time and platform numbers, particularly for people with accessible needs or unfamiliar travellers are at times extreme. Clearer communication design has removed thousands of unnecessary passenger movements within the station as people can easily find the information they need. Improvements have also supported passenger boarding management, platform dwell times, and disruption for easier journeys.
In the spirit of working *with* organisations, rather than *for* them, this project was a true collaboration between designers and advisors from PTV and Meld Studios. We paired each testing participant up with an interviewer so they were one-on-one for the whole session. We asked participants to “think out loud” so that we could not only watch what they did, but understand how they were thinking about it.
Working in this way meant the insights developed will live on with the team after the project, and raise the capability for PTV to scale this design activity across the network.
The new screens are designed for effectiveness and efficiency.
Key improvements include:
– It’s easier to find what you’re looking for – line names and colours are consistent across displays and network maps
– It’s faster to find what you’re looking for – services are listed in departure order
– Stopping patterns are clearly communicated – supporting more confident boardings
– Numbers for platforms and ‘minutes to departure’ are less confusing because they’re always locked up together
– Typography is more legible and consistent, supporting vision-impaired passengers
– You can tell the time. Previously you had to look around for a separate clock