New SEPTA App Gets People There On Time

Helping a Top 5 US Transportation Authority Deliver a Better Customer Experience

SEPTA train hero image

Real-Time Upgrade

Recently, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) installed new, real-time modems on all of their 3000+ vehicles, buses, trains to provide location information every 30 seconds. Their existing mobile apps were not equipped to handle or deliver the new data generated by these devices.

Additionally, SEPTA received feedback from riders that their existing mobile app was confusing due to many siloed features that were not well integrated, frequent crashes, and intermittent location services. Wanting to leverage this new real-time data, increase their resiliency, and upgrade their user experience (UX) to compete with other transportation options— SEPTA came to CapTech to upgrade their mobile experience.

Map functionality of SEPTA app on mobile

Iterative Development

We started by defining very high-level requirements and conducting research. The research process included examining existing transportation apps and store reviews, but also included crowdsourced feedback through social media channels.

We also spoke with SEPTA riders to inform the information architecture of the app. During the iterative development process, we created wire frames of visual design concepts and reviewed progress regularly with stakeholders to ensure we were on target with expectations

Custom Delivery

In order to provide SEPTA with a robust mobile app, we built a custom solution for both iOS and Android platforms.

Through these techniques our team built a customer application that allowed
riders to:
  • Favorite their frequent trips
  • Provide immediately utility upon opening the app
  • Distribute schedule changes
  • Provide opportunities to connect with customer service.
Custom delivery part of SEPTA app on Mobile
AWS solution for API funtionality

Robust Solution

In addition to integrating new real-time location data it was essential that the back-end of the app be prepared for increased demand during any large-scale usage event such as a snowstorm.

To allow the APIs to function more efficiently and scale, CapTech implemented a solution using AWS auto scaling features that would allow SEPTA to add capacity very quickly when there are sudden spikes in volume. The app is also built utilizing modern design principles that make adding additional features, like online payments, easy.

Hero image of SEPTA bus

Competitive and Modern

The new data and interface of the app allows SEPTA to better compete with modern ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber. And since its’ launch, over 60,000 Android users and 100,000+ iOS users have downloaded the app. During that time, it has operated 99.2% crash free.

In early 2018, blizzard conditions cause a 50% increase in API usage and the system performed flawlessly. SEPTA is pleased with the app’s performance and is continuing to expand on the current application to add new and requested features based on user feedback.