DART Redesign of Rider Information Pieces and Bus Stop Signs to Educate Riders

Target Audience: DART conducted an extensive segmentation study to better understand who is using our system and how they are riding. The study revealed that we have approximately 150,000 regular riders. By examining their demographics, needs, habits and activities, we were able to segment them into four categories: Reliant Commuters, Corporate Commuters, Task Riders and Event Riders. Through the segmentation study, we learned that that 84% of our Reliant Commuters and 76% Task Riders ride the bus. This is significantly more than our Corporate Riders and Event Riders, who ride buses 50% and 56%, respectively. Armed with this data, DART primarily targeted Reliant Commuters and Task Riders for the New Bus Network campaign. Corporate Commuters and Events riders were our secondary audiences.

Strategy Objective:DART's redesign had six main objectives: - Improve readability and usability of our printed materials, especially for visually impaired riders - Visually integrate the new frequency-based model of bus service throughout printed communications - Explain how to ride and pay for GoLink on-demand service - Provide larger printed maps, with a stronger focus on essential transit information - Improve signage readability from a further distance - Utilize iconography on signage to improve understanding for non-English readers The new designs incorporate the results of a communications audit, best readability practices for ADA accessibility, insights from other transit agencies worldwide, guidance from DART's Service Planning team, and feedback from panels of riders.

Situation Challenge: In January 2022, DART completely transformed its entire bus system with the most extensive service change in agency history. Every bus route in the DART System changed, and light rail frequency was restored to 2019 levels. Approximately 95% of DART's riders were impacted. DART had to create and produce over one million pieces of rider information, including bus route schedules, rail schedules, system maps, specialty service/district brochures, and bus stop signs. The need to replace these materials created an opportunity to redesign them. The design of DART's customer information pieces had remained unchanged for over a decade. Once the DART Board approved the plan, the agency had four months to design, produce, print, and distribute these materials in time for the service change.

Results Impact: The new collateral designs better adhering to design benchmarks for readability and the science of ADA compliance. - DART's revised route colors provide clear differentiation between bus and rail routes for the most common forms of color blindness - We updated our font styles and sizes to improve readability, including for those with dyslexia - New schedule design incorporates shading on alternating lines, which improves understanding across long tables. Rider feedback preferred this approach nearly three to one. - New bus stop signs are larger and two-sided - Created 86 new bus route brochures - Designed new versions of 8 maps, a 125-page light rail guide, and other specialty brochures - Created guides for 33 GoLink zones - Produced over 7,000 new bus and GoLink stop signs

Why Submit: DART reimagined our rider information and bus stop signs to become more impactful communication channels. More than just creating a visually appealing group of materials, the agency created ones that were strategic in their use of design. In the new designs, DART simplified maps to provide better focus on essential information; improved the readability of bus/GoLink signs; utilized design and color to differentiate bus and rail routes; stylized map elements rather than adhering to strict geographic representation; and better integrated our icon system into maps and brochures. The new designs helped educate and transition riders to our new system of grouping bus routes by midday frequency. Frequency type is now designated by color, which is reflected in bus route schedules and maps.