Design Brief: SeptaUX

Context: Who are we working with?

The Business

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is a regional public transportation authority that operates bus, rapid transit, commuter rail, light rail, and electric trolleybus services for nearly 4 million people in five counties in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It also manages projects that maintain, replace and expand its infrastructure, facilities and vehicles.

SEPTA is the major transit provider for Philadelphia and the counties of Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks and Chester. It is a state-created authority, with the majority of its board appointed by the five Pennsylvania counties it serves.

SEPTA has the 6th-largest U.S. rapid transit system by ridership, and the 5th largest overall transit system, with about 306.9 million annual unlinked trips. It controls 290 active stations, over 450 miles (720 km) of track, 2,295 revenue vehicles, and 196 routes. It also oversees shared-ride services in Philadelphia and ADA services across the region, which are operated by third-party contractors.

SEPTA is one of only two U.S. transit authorities that operates all of the five major types of terrestrial transit vehicles: regional (commuter) rail trains, "heavy" rapid transit (subway/elevated) trains, light rail vehicles (trolleys), trolleybuses, and motorbuses. (The other is Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which runs ferryboat service as well.)

SEPTA's headquarters are at 1234 Market Street in Center City, Philadelphia.

Taken from

The Citizen Advisory Committee

The Citizen Advisory Committee acts as an independent representative and advocate on behalf of our customers in the five county region of Southeastern Pennsylvania served by SEPTA.

The committee's major concerns are the quality of service, including reliability and frequency, speed, cleanliness, safety and security; fares; policies; financing and planning; and accountability.

The Code For Philly Team

Karl Li, Product Designer Stephanie Lin, Sr. UX Designer Chris Alfano, —-

Discovery: What’s the Problem?

A few problems:

…I’m terrible with directions. …I don’t know which platform I’m standing on. …I don’t know where different exits will take me.

Basically…I still get lost while trying to ride the SEPTA Subway Network. It’s especially terrible when it’s raining outside, and it’s Friday rush hour, and all I’m trying to do is get home for dinner.

But my hunch is that I’m not the only one. According to Septa’s 2017 Route Statistics:

The Broad Street Line averages 124,218 riders per day from NRG Station (formerly known as AT&T Station) to Fern Rock Transportation Center. The Market-Frankford Line averages 187,449 riders per day from 69th Street Transportation Center to Frankford Transportation Center

That’s hundreds of thousands of people! If you’ve experienced the same pain I have over the last couple of months, tweet me at @SeptaUX.

  1. Riders waste time walking up and down different tunnels because they’re not sure which direction is which.

  2. Riders walk through the wrong tunnels and end up on the wrong platform which is going the opposite direction of where they need to go.

  3. Riders take the wrong exit and come out on the wrong side of the street.

Design Challenge

How might we improve the signage of the SEPTA subway stations so that riders spend less time walking in the wrong directions, have less trouble finding out where they need to go, and feel less like

Project Activity