CalTrain App & Signage

Case Study 2015 Improved commute App & Signage

Areas of Improvement

• Passengers on platform don't know what stops the next train will make.

• Passengers in train don't know what the next stop is.

• Bicyclists don't know ahead of time if there is bike space onboard.

• Train conductors spend too much time repeating stops made and train number.

• Etc.

Personas & Goals

All passengers :

• Advance knowledge of what stops the next train will make.
• While in train easily know what the next stop will be.
• Eliminate scenarios where passengers get on a bullet train that doesn't make a certain stop.

Bicyclists :

• Advance knowledge of available bike space.
• Know which bike cars have space and how much space there is.

CalTrain conductors :

• Remove necessity to announce stops and potential mistakes.
More focus on their other responsabilities.
• Better knowledge of capacity state of bike cars from other areas of the train.
• Reduce time answering passenger questions about what the next stop will be.


Goal of app is not to reinvent existing app functionality but to introduce live geo tracking of trains. With this tracking you can verify before you get to the station where you train is.
If a trains location has been idle for N minutes, you can send an alert to allow people to know ahead of time if there are train delays or worse.

Map views

This example demonstrates someone who set their evening commute departure from Hayward Park with a destination of Millbrae. The map highlights the next viable train and also displays what time the train will arrive at both start and end points. The user has the ability to filter trains present in view.

Train details

View details for a specific train. Dialog has a scroll view that displays that trains stops and corresponding arrival times.

Incident Alerts

Patrons can consult the state of trains when incidents occur along the train line. A concept not illustrated here is that by tapping on a specific train in the view, an alert can be set when the train starts moving again.

Main menu


Some digital exploration

Platform Signage

Here is an example of a person that is waiting for train #224 at the Millbrae station.

Front of train

Confirm that approaching train is the same as what was announced on the platform sign.
Also present is a non-detailed indicator of the bike capacity status of the train. The proposed solution uses color and wording to indicate state (visually impaired friendly).

Side of train

Reminder of train number, what the next stop is and various other potential information (Handicap accessible, Luggage, Bikes, Toilets, etc.)

Inside of Train

Many passengers seem to lose track of where the train is located.
People need to remind themselves of what stops the train will be making and if their stop is next. This will allow for people to have adequate time to gather their belongings and make their way towards the exit. It will also allow bicyclists to return to their bike and prepare to deboard the train.