Metrolinx

Service, product design

Lead and designer

The Toronto Transit Commission — operating the third busiest metro system in North America at 1.7 million people per weekday — needed a single, modern payment method and a way to enforce it. That’s where Fjord and Accenture Interactive came in. Combining design thinking with smart card technology, we ran headlong towards some of the toughest accessibility standards as well as skyhigh stakeholder expectations.
Through iterative cycles of exhaustive research, prototyping, and usability testing, we led the hardware and software design of 10,000 electronic fare payment devices deployed in streetcars, other surface vehicles, and subway stations throughout Toronto. My primary contribution to this project had to do with transit fare enforcement but also assisted generally with the overall project.
As of Fall 2013, a proprietary device manufactured by an overseas vendor was being planned — much like the device a UPS driver carries; in other words, big, bulky, with poor battery life and not easily expandable. As an alternative, our team proposed a more open device and system — the Motorola TC 55 running Android v4.1.2. Not only would it ensure the management and enforcement of the PRESTO fare cards but it would also accelerate app development, make the device easier to carry, enable easier support by internal resources and, overall, create more cost-effectiveness.
The project at-large was completed in spring 2014 and as a result, I'm happy to report that the ambitious PRESTO smart card program has created a simple and seamless way to ride public transit in Toronto.
A few of our key activities:
  • Over 100 stakeholder and user interviews
  • Over 20 research field trips
  • Built iteratively full-scale prototypes with working hardware and software to test ergonomics, usability — we junked seven phones and tablets in the process
  • Conducted 50 small and lab-based usability testing sessions, as well as a plethora of co-creation activities with real customers
On this project, I functioned as a senior designer:
  • Working with nearly two dozen Fjord designers
  • A team of client developers
  • 10 business analysts from Accenture Interactive
  • Two contracted accessibility experts
See more detail in the case study as posted on Fjord's website, https://www.fjordnet.com/workdetail/simplifying-public-transit/.
Last year, I was able to visit Toronto and saw the Presto system in action first hand. Pretty cool.

The full set of the fare inspector device low fidelity wires and high fidelity screens are available as an Axure prototype

Selected work