TfNSW Award: Symplicit's Ticketing System wins a Design Research Good Design Award

By Hermann Ruiz


6 min read
“The methodology behind this study is undeniably robust. Congratulations on creating a considered and empathetic approach to solving significant problems with the public transport experience." The Good Design Awards Jury

We're proud to announce that we've been recognised as a winner in the Design Research category for this year's 2023 Good Design Awards. This recognition represents the third consecutive year Symplicit won a Good Design Award for Design Research. It acknowledges our passion and commitment to high-quality research that produces meaningful and actionable insights for business services and those who use them.

The Challenge: Designing an Inclusive and Resilient Transport Ticketing System.

Transport for NSW (TfNSW) sought to understand the ticketing needs and behaviours of the more than 5 million customers within Greater Sydney who take over 4 million public transport trips daily. This initiative aimed to identify opportunities to reimagine the Opal ticketing network to better support accessible, secure, sustainable, and equitable passenger journeys. The challenge arose as TfNSW, a NSW government agency, needed to ensure that their future ticketing programs would continue to meet the expectations of a Greater Sydney population growing in diversity, with changing needs, priorities and vulnerabilities evolving alongside technology.

This initiative aimed to identify opportunities to reimagine the Opal ticketing network to better support accessible, secure, sustainable, and equitable passenger journeys.

Our Approach: Gathering diverse perspectives with mixed-methods research.

This project used human-centred, mixed-methods research to understand how the Opal network can better serve passengers' ticketing needs. Narrative interviews examining lived experience, ethnographic studies, and a survey were conducted with commuters, travellers, and errand runners on the Opal network, including vulnerable community segments.

Our team leveraged our network of partners in the social impact space to include culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), differently abled, and First Nations participants.

Using our partner networks helped participants feel empowered, trusting us with their authentic experiences. This was critical for our team to identify the most important and often invisible transport-oriented challenges vulnerable participants face.

Exploratory qualitative data was analysed, forming insights validated with survey data. A mental model map, personas, and a Transport Resilience Framework were developed to provide an innovative way to empathise with passengers and develop ticketing solutions supporting mobility resilience - the ability to continue to move around regardless of a person's current situation easily.

Design Impact: An empowering public transport ticketing system.

By reframing ticketing as a crucial experience influencing accessibility, equity, and resilience of public transport passengers, our research empowers leaders in a large government agency to make better evidence-based and insightful decisions to create more empathetic and inclusive next-generation ticketing solutions. The research artefacts have been utilised in cross-divisional design workshops to develop a more inclusive, passenger-centric model for the future Opal network. Furthermore, our design-led approach has raised awareness of passenger-centric design and has inspired other government business areas to embrace similar ways of working. Ultimately, this research will inform decisions impacting 5 million passengers, with many of them experiencing different kinds of disadvantages. Our work supports an accessible public transport ticketing system that empowers all passengers to be transport-resilient.

The Highlight: A transport resilience framework for strategic direction.

This program developed the Transport Resilience Framework, which visualises dimensions of passenger resilience related to public transport ticketing. The evidence-based tool empowers leaders to make more empathetic and inclusive strategic decisions while designing next-generation ticketing solutions.

Client: Transport for NSW

Project Team: Keith Diamond, Hermann Ruiz, Samantha Passey, Leo Rhodes


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