August 23, 2011

Dallas DART’s new website makes trip planning easier



Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) new website design, which was officially launched Monday, makes it easier than ever to plan a trip and stay connected with the agency.

In addition to a simpler presentation of DART's online trip planner, the Google trip planner, which incorporates the popular Google maps, is front and center, giving customers a choice of trip planners. Desktop versions of DART's "Where's My Bus?" and "Where's My DART Stop?" have also been developed for customers who have enjoyed using those tools on their Web-enabled mobile phones and tablets.

"Where's My Bus?" gives customers a near real-time estimate when their bus will arrive. Customers can use it to follow the progress of their bus via a Google map as it approaches their stop. The screen will give the customer the published scheduled arrival time or an estimated time, if the bus is within 15 minutes of the stop. The page tells the customer the bus is arriving "#soon" if it is estimated to be within five minutes of the stop.

"Where's My DART Stop?" helps customers locate the nearest stop and transit service. This desktop version is based on an interactive Google map with street view to show the stop and its surroundings. Customers enter an address and city to get results providing route information and estimated and schedule times for the nearest transit service to their location.

The "Stop ID Finder" is also more prominently displayed with a link on the DART Trip Planner on the top right section of the home page. Each of DART's approximately 12,000 stops has a unique five-digit identification number. Customers using the DART Trip Planner or the new desktop version of "Where's My Bus?" can plug in this number and obtain trip information faster. The Stop ID number also is an essential part of a new text tool that is scheduled for release in September.

Rider Alerts and service advisories are more visible on the redesigned home page. Information about service disruptions as well as planned schedule and route changes are posted in this area. The new design also makes it easier to subscribe to the My DART email and RSS updates and to connect with the agency via Twitter or Facebook to receive agency news and updates while on the go.

The latest You Tube videos produced by DART also have moved to the front page. These videos provide agency news and trip planning information. Customers will still find links to popular destinations such as the Dallas Zoo and American Airlines Center, along with DART connections to jury duty and courts on the home page.

DART first went online in 1997 and maintains a Spanish-language website, TransporteDART.org and mobile site, m.dart.org.

Dallas-based Valiant Media created the information architecture and user interface design for the site, whil the redesign implementation and online tool development was done by DART staff.

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