Assessing the user experience of bus ticketing machines for TfL

A common source of passenger frustration is their interaction with the ticket machine. Confusing choices, unclear instructions and a complex layout get the journey off to a poor start and often result in failed transactions.

Client: Transport for London
Location: UK

Ticket Machine

The Brief

CCD was commissioned by Transport for London to look at why passengers were not using the roadside ticket machines for London’s buses. This was important in the lead-up to TfL withdrawing the ability for passengers to pay on the bus.

TfL asked us to redesign the ticket machine interface. Using the information gathered on how passengers saw the logical flow of tasks, we re-laid out the interface and provided clear and simple instructions. The re-designed ticket machine was rolled out and successfully supported the transition to cash-free bus operation.

What we did

We applied ethnographic research methods to observe passengers interacting with the ticket machines and interviewed passengers to understand their experience. The video and other research material gathered of these interactions was very powerful in demonstrating to TfL how many of the problems lay with the usability of the ticket machines and the interface design. We were able to identify the key mismatches between user expectations and how the ticket machine worked.

How we added value

  • Ethnographic research got to the heart of the user experience and identified the key barriers to successful use of the ticket machines
  • Research evidence provided clear demonstration of user experience to management
  • Re-design of the interface improved the user experience and adoption of the ticket machines