On 15th of January, the Go-Ahead Group and The App Business (TAB) launched On Track – the smartest, fastest rail journey planning assistant for UK train times, travel information and tickets. Branded separately for each of Go-Ahead’s three train operating companies including Southern, Southeastern and London Midland, all three apps are available to download from Google Play and the App Store.
Developing On Track
Developing On Track began with an extensive audit, analysing journey planning apps already available to tavellers across rail and other transport modes. As Daniel Joseph, Founder at The App Business, explains: “One problem was immediately apparent: rail apps couldn’t be effectively configured to reflect passengers’ individual daily habits and requirements. This made tracking down frequent information slow and repetitive.” Heavily menu-led, many apps were generic and hid core information behind excessive amounts of ‘chrome’ – the fixed aspects of the design that surround content, like navigation, branding and adverts. To deliver a best-in-class experience, it was essential for us to put user’s needs at the heart of the development process. The team recruited volunteers from existing passenger networks and conducted face-to-face interviews throughout the whole development process to ensure that feedback and real behaviours were considered. Designs underwent multiple iterations in response to comments from these sessions, with the result that On Track is genuinely an app designed for passengers, by passengers.
On Track – UK train times, travel info and tickets
On Track provides personalised, real-time information and super fast journey planning for all UK train routes. On opening the app you’ll instantly see live services updates, train times and platform info for the journeys that matter to you. Powered by data from National Rail Enquiries, Go-Ahead Group and Transport for London, the app puts you in control by letting you customise what you see. Whether you’re a seasoned customer or planning trips in advance, On Track is the only rail app you need for stress-free train travel. Go-Ahead’s Group Marketing Director, Gillian Singh, added: “For too long it’s been ‘one size fits all’ and we know everyone’s travel habits are different…Passengers have appreciated the personal touches – the ability to nickname stations and add personalised icons, showing how long you have to catch your train on a stopwatch that even recalculates your time if trains are delayed.“
What next for On Track?
On Track has taken a simple idea – to remove unnecessary steps in the journey planning process – and created something that’s practical, intuitive and a delight to use. In this, it’s putting journey planning back on track for passengers and delivering a best-in-class experience. But there’s a wider example for On Track to set, too. In recognising that each of us travels differently, at TAB we’ve already begun to think about the broader picture: how can the user-focused principles that underpin On Track be used to redefine other forms of transport app? If we think about this in conjunction with technologies like sensors and beacons, set to proliferate in 2014, the opportunities to make our travel apps even smarter are significant. If you’ve any feedback, thoughts or suggestions about how we can improve or develop the app further, we’d love to hear from you either via the app, or by getting in contact with us here.
See On Track on iTunes