Case Studies : Transport For London

Transport for London

Transport For London

Choose a tube stop – get local listings. We developed this clever little application.
This case study demonstrates Double Eye’s ability to design and deliver an innovative online tool based around a Geographical Information System. It highlights our abilities to integrate systems, develop bespoke software, evaluate new technologies & create functional user interfaces.

 

The Context

The Tube Guru service is a joint project between Transport For London and Visit London. It allows users to select a stop on the London underground and find points of interest within a chosen distance of the stop.

The solution pairs Visit London’s vast database of points of interest with TFL’s database of tube station information. The site has its own look and feel and is co-branded as a Visit London / TfL development.

The Objectives

  • Allow users to browse a map of the London underground network and click a station to view points of interested near the station.
  • For each station, provide proximity-based listings for accommodation, attractions, clubs, eating out, entertainment, pubs & bars and shopping, as well as up-to-date information on the tube station itself.
  • Allow the user to choose how far from the station they are prepared to travel to find a particular point of interest, from 5 minutes to 30 minutes walk.
  • Allow users to search for a station by name, view a list of all stations on the underground network or navigate “on” the tube map itself.

The Process

An information architecture and wireframes were quickly developed to demonstrate how the service would operate, refine the user interactions, and to ensure stakeholder buy-in from both organisations.

A technical architecture was developed to determine the best way to implement the service. It was decided that both Visit London and TfL databases should be hosted in a single environment and accessed through a web service.

As the visit London database contained the vast majority of data, the TfL database was replicated at Visit London and a data feed set-up to keep the two synchronised.

A geo-spacial search engine was designed and built to allow listings to be returned within a specified radius of a tube station.

Whilst the technical work was in progress the user interface was modelled and designed. As the data was being delivered via a web service, a number of client side technologies were considered, including Flash along with other emerging technologies.

A rapid prototype was created to assess the available client side technologies and after running speed trials it was decided to build the user interface using HTML, CSS and XSLT to render the XML data returned from the web service.

The service was developed, integrated, tested and launched in just under 4 months from initial agreement to live operation.

The Outcome

The website was launched in January 2005 and was an instant hit with users coming from both the TfL and Visit London websites.

The paradigm of using the well-known underground stations as the “interface” to London is intuitive to the consumer and provides a richness of experience not available before.

The Tube Guru service demonstrates the complementary co-operation of local government agencies to provide an enhanced service to the consumer.

The site has been nominated for a number of prestigious industry awards.

TfL launched a major marketing campaign centred around the service in January 2006 – “The Tube Guru Knows”.

“Working with Double Eye to launch the new Tube Guru was a pleasure. They were clearly focused on delivery throughout, displaying a clear understanding of the needs of both clients, creativity in the design of the product and a robust and realistic approach to planning and scheduling.”

Melanie Couldrey, Communications Planning Manager, TfL

Key Points

– Full end-to-end development of medium sized project Prototyping & Visualisation

– Integration of 3rd party databases.

– Bespoke software design & build.

– Functional user interface development.

– Proximity-based geographical information services (GIS)

– Webservices, XML & XSLT Evaluation of emerging client side technologies.

– Effective management and delivery with primary co-operating clients.

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