Metro Trains Melbourne
Improvements to the Syndenham train line were going to cause disruptions to passengers for a couple of weeks. Buses would replace trains and the timetable had to change to make it happen. The changes had to be explained to passengers, but first station staff needed to understand what was happening.
Find patterns in the data that can be easily explained.
We looked for patterns in the data – spreadsheet after spreadsheet of train times. There were patterns, lots of them, too many of them to be easily explained. So we drew what we were reading. And looked for patterns in the pictures. We found them.
The result was three diagrams that showed the three different bus routes that were being used. Those bus routes were in action at different times of the day – daytime, evenings and weekends. This was information that was not obvious looking at the data.
By looking at the data alone, all you see is frequency and patterns in the frequency. Data alone can't explain that waiting for a later bus will result in a more direct route with less stops – unless you are really good at reading data, and most of us aren't.
Now we had a result that SHOWED everyone what was going on. We designed it to match the existing route maps and colours used to designate buses and trains. This familiar appearance helps remove barriers to understanding the new information.
The end result is a set of simple looking diagrams that belies the amount of data and development behind it. But that's the way it should be.
And it worked.