Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is an independent district that provides sustainable, accessible, community-focused transportation options that are innovative, environmentally responsible, and promote the vitality of the region. It provides bus, light rail, and paratransit services as well as participating as a funding partner in regional rail service. The VTA is also responsible for countywide transportation planning including congestion management, design, and construction of specific highways, pedestrian and bicycle improvement projects, and the promotion of transit-oriented development.
Business goals included increasing user satisfaction, improving interaction and providing transit riders with a better, more useful service and transportation planning. In support of this, the VTA sought to deliver a mobile-first, responsive user-centric digital experience that intuitively delivers information and services to riders and non-riders alike on an open source technology platform, and has the ability to store and employ vast amounts of information using an easily configured CMS.
The legacy website served its internal audiences better than their primary customers of the VTA. It also failed to support its largest segment of online traffic: mobile users. A 2017 usability study showed low satisfaction rates regarding the site’s "counterintuitive navigational terminologies, confusing page layouts, and a high volume of unfiltered content." The site was not optimized for mobile usage despite the fact that 69% of the sessions were from mobile devices. They endorsed a third party transit app called "Transit" but it did not support the full range of information that the VTA had to offer, and many users were prioritizing using the website as a result, yet VTA did not have in-house resources to create and maintain a custom built app.
The VTA and their partner Digital Echidna worked together on a year long site redevelopment project that crossed all VTA departments and included input from the public. Throughout the project there was extensive beta testing and incorporation of customer feedback to inform the build. Given that they could not develop and maintain an app, the site had to deliver the full range of information that the VTA needs to provide about its services, programs and projects. The Acquia Cloud platform was chosen for its expertise in optimizing for high traffic Drupal applications, scaling abilities that can support the next phase of the VTA’s digital strategy, and DXP solutions that will support the VTA digital roadmap to include more personalization and marketing tools.
Digital Echidna and the VTA delivered a state of the art, reliable, open source, mobile-first web experience and they continue to endorse the Transit app for things that an app does best. After the launch, more than 70% of survey respondents rated the new site 3-5 stars on several key metrics, these ratings are expected to continue to improve. The new site has also received more "extremely easy" ratings and significant improvements on visual appeal ratings.