Transportation App UI/UX Design Best Practices

transportation-app-ui-ux-design-best-practices

Transportation UI/UX Design

Transportation and travel-related apps are some of the most popular downloads in an app store. These apps are full of useful features that cover flight and hotel booking services, tours, bus schedules, maps, navigation, virtual tickets, and more. We all need to get places, but how we get there, and how efficiently we travel can often hinge on the app we are using.

The public transportation sector isn’t always up to date on tech trends and how the success of modern UI/UX trends heavily relies on technology — especially smartphones. It’s one of the only items people always have on them. Just attend any concert in the last ten years and look at the number of people holding their phones up recording the event.

To ensure you’re creating a relevant transport app and avoid the need for an eventual app redesign, you must pack it with features, provide it with user-requested solutions, and leave room for additions and changes without too much headache. Here are the best UI/UX design practices when considering how to design a transportation app.


1. Initial Onboarding of Transportation App Design

Once users download an app, they may need guidance on how to use it. It helps to engage them immediately by displaying and explaining their options as soon as they open the app.

You have several methods for the landing screen of a transportation app design.

Guide the User by Creating a Test Route

One way you can help first-time users is by navigating them through the app and presenting the main functions. Get them started by suggesting they create their first route from their location. This will require them to turn on their location settings — you can direct them to this part via a pop-up message with simple sequenced steps listed out for them.

Display the Current Navigation Via a Map

If the app’s homepage displays a map of where they currently are, it helps users orient themselves and become more engaged with the app immediately. Additionally, there should be indicators of recognizable landmarks, frequently visited places like major museums, and all transit stations.

Here is a transportation UX case study examining the redesign of the TMB app — a Barcelona public transportation app. The designer took inspiration from Barcelona’s style and used icons and minimal contrasting colors representing its hallmarks, architecture, and overall characteristics to create a shared sense of visual vocabulary that users would immediately recognize.


2. Incorporate Notifications into the Transportation UI/UX Design

When using a transportation app, it is essential to notify travelers when it’s time to board. You can alert them by sending the user a message on their phone and creating an alert sound. However, making this feature optional is best. Research shows that 39% of people will turn off all app notifications and 8% will delete the app entirely if they get too many alerts.

The main notifications they should receive are schedules and traffic situations, which should appear as a pop-up message.

Strategically Time Your Notifications

Implementing this feature will notify the user their transportation is on its way. This could be for the arrival of the next bus, your uber driver, or ferry, it really doesn’t matter, arrival notifications give users a heads up to prepare for departure, and also allow them to do any last-minute preparations, such as grabbing snack or packing a bag.

Notify During the Route

An additional notification type relates specifically to the trip they’re currently taking. It notifies the person of their current location with the route and how long they have left until they reach their destination. These notifications keep the user informed, allowing them to track their itinerary and notify others that may be waiting for them at their destination.

Offer Traffic Disruption and Safety Notifications

This feature will alert people of unsafe routes, traffic jams, and weather conditions. The information can help users avoid delays and create a more pleasant travel experience.


3. Allow Users to Explore With the Transport App UI Design

When it comes to tourists, they typically don’t have time to learn about transportation options within a city. Therefore, you may want a transportation design that directs them to significant sights, hotels, restaurants, and museums.

Make Nearby Suggestions

A transportation app that tourists use should display local attractions or other important places they need to visit. Within the app, you can make it user-friendly by highlighting tourist attractions, among many other things. In these cases, finding a mobile application design service may be beneficial.

List Various Lines of Public Transportation

Large cities have numerous lines of transportation. To assist users in finding different transportation lines, consider adding types of transport in a list format. It also helps if you include the public transit times and routes.

Transportation bus app

In this public transportation UI design, you can see the Tan Public Transportation app gives users access to the live tracking of their selected line. This feature makes it easier for people to estimate when they’ll get to their stop. Displaying the arrival and departure times gives users a sense of relief, knowing their transportation will be on time.

Add City Emergency and Services Information

You can divide this information into two categories — city emergency and transportation services. However, you don’t always have to limit it to those two classifications.

You can provide a more advanced feature, allowing people to report unclean areas and tag the station. The service can learn about it and track everything from a dashboard. Again, locating ​​UI/UX design services may be best for creating such a feature.


4. Enable Trip Planning and Routes in the Transport App Design

Complex routes and multiple-leg trips are often cumbersome on public transportation and is a big reason for the rise in car sharing. However, at a minimum, public transit needs to include options in their web app design that are simple to navigate and provide users the ability to filter by time, preference, and accessibility.

Include Different Modes of Transportation

People like to use different modes of transportation, whether by bike, car, bus, or subway. Therefore, they should have opportunities to view other connections.

Transportation design for Automatize Platform by Fuselab Creative.


For instance, some transportation product designs allow you to set a starting point and destination. In addition, they can see a list of different modes of transportation, including schedules and transfers.

Make Tracking Modes of Transportation Available

It also helps users if they have various choices when you provide them with filters of transportation types. This feature is one of the app UI design best practices because it allows people to see the most relevant information on the map and keep track of different modes of transportation.

Provide Accessibility Information

People with disabilities need additional information when planning a trip. This information may include subway or bus stations with elevators, accessible restrooms and ramps. Integrating this information can also display levels of accessibility on streets and how difficult it is to get to certain places.

Enable Users to Save Routes and Locations

Incorporating this feature is especially useful for locals since they use the same daily routes. Therefore, allowing people to save passages from home to work would be helpful. Overall, it saves time, so they don’t have to type in the address.

Enable Route Sharing

For safety purposes, many ride-sharing apps allow passengers to share information about the vehicle they’re traveling in — such as registration plate, vehicle type, and GPS location. However, it’s also convenient for sharing the data or adding their trip to the calendar as a reminder.


5. Real-Time Vehicle Tracking

Suppose a person is in a hurry to get to their destination. They may be anxious to know when their ride-share or bus will arrive. A vehicle tracking feature within the transportation app allows people to learn the estimated arrival time.

Enable Real-Time Vehicle Tracking

A real-time tracking feature gives peace of mind to passengers waiting for their ride. However, it’s also useful within a public transportation UX design so passengers can track their bus or other modes of transportation.

You could design an app like Uber, which offers all the user’s driver information. Uber’s app design features details such as the driver’s name, location, phone number and number of trips. The Uber app UI design also features the driver’s vehicle information, such as the make, model and color.



6. Incorporate Maps and Transit Schedules

It’s vital to note people who use a transportation app will actively use the map feature. Therefore, paying attention to the performance of the map’s functionality is crucial.

Display Information on Traffic Disruptions

One helpful feature is showing parts of the map where traffic has slowed down or come to a halt. Traffic jams and road closings ultimately lead to unwanted delays. Therefore, you can improve the users’ experience by keeping them up to date with the latest information and offering a better route plan for their next destination.

Enable Users to Input New Information

Transportation agencies generally update information regarding disruptions and schedules in real time. However, not all transportation agencies provide this feature, especially in smaller cities.

Dashboard design for Smart Streets by Fuselab Creative.

If this is the case for your transportation company, allow crowd-sourced data within the transportation UX design. Integrating public transportation APIs and GPS lets people provide more information about traffic disruptions. Users can report updates by pressing a button within the app. Many of the leading GPS travel apps allow users to notify others of accidents or slowdowns in an attempt to guide others around a congested area.

Display Different Versions of the Map

Depending on the person’s preference, they might want a satellite map view. That way, they can search for important sightings and familiar landmarks.

Suggest Faster Routes

Some transportation apps show users how long it takes to reach a particular destination when using different modes of transport or taking different routes. You can apply this feature so they may find the shortest route. It also helps if the person can choose the best course in advance by displaying different options, in an effort to create a more efficient user experience.

Allow Offline Use

Transportation apps that enable access to offline maps are critical. People might not always have access to the Internet everywhere they go. Therefore, adding an offline map is pertinent. Users can download different maps without overloading their phone’s storage.

Incorporate Arrival and Departure Information

This feature allows people to view estimated times of arrival and departure. Some transportation apps will include different types of transport and scheduling information on routes.



7. Provide Online Payments

Many people are hesitant to connect a credit card to an app for online payments. After all, they have a right to be concerned about their privacy. Yet, users may give in to using this feature if you make the process seamless and flexible.

Feature a Ticket Option

If a city offers the option to buy public transportation tickets online, the app should also provide this ability. First, it should have information that displays ticket costs, such as fees for different age groups and discounts for students. Then, people should have the option to save the purchased tickets within the app. It’s extremely frustrating to pay for a digital ticket for transportation or an event and then not being able to find it or verify your purchase.

If the user loses their device, they should be able to restore their ticket purchase within the app. Additionally, they should have tracking information for their departure time before the ticket loses its validity.

Enable Different Payment Methods

People have different payment preferences. The more options you provide, the more often people will use the app, so consider providing other payment methods. For example, they should have an international bank payment feature, like MasterCard or Visa. In addition, many like to use Apple Pay or Google Pay so they don’t have to add their card information directly to the app.

Provide a Card Scanning Feature

Manually typing card payment details is a time-consuming process. Often, people don’t have time to enter their payment information, especially when traveling. However, a card-scanning feature allows people to save time and creates a much more seamless experience.

Source: Brave Geeks Team

In this transportation UX case study, designers redesigned the RTA Dubai App to add this feature. Users can add a balance to their digital Nol card and scan it for payment. This makes commuting much easier for travelers because they already have their payment information saved within the app.


Create a Quality Transportation App Design

Hopefully, this article sheds light on how a transportation mobile product UI/UX design works and how your UX problems can be solved. After all, the only thing the end user cares about is a functional app. The quality design takes time to achieve this result, but the end product will not only be helpful — it can improve people’s lives by helping them travel with less stress and hopefully focus on some of life’s more important issues.

Learn how Fuselab Creative transportation app design company can help you.

If your transportation app is not meeting expectations, give us a shot.

If your transportation app is not meeting expectations, give us a shot.

Transport apps competition is brutal; one wonkey user-flow can be the beginning of the end.

The avatar of the Marc Caposino - author of the publication

CEO

Marketing Director -
Senior Strategist

About Author

Marc Caposino

Marc has over 20 years of senior-level creative experience; developing countless digital products, mobile and Internet applications, marketing and outreach campaigns for numerous public and private agencies across California, Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. In 2017 Marc co-founded Fuselab Creative with the hopes of creating better user experiences online through human-centered design.