User Preferences for Bus Map Design: Evidence from a Map Usability Study
Keywords: Map design, Public transport mapping, Map usability study
Abstract. This study represents the final stage of an investigation into understanding the variation in bus map design and the impact of map design preferences in public transportation information portrayal, with a particular focus on Malaysia. In many cities, bus services represent an important facet of easing traffic congestion and reducing pollution. However, with the entrenched car culture in many countries, persuading people to change their mode of transport is a major challenge. To promote this modal shift, people need to know what services are available and where (and when) they go. Bus service maps provide an invaluable element of providing suitable public transport information, but are often overlooked by transport planners, and are under-researched by cartographers. There are various approaches to the design of bus maps, but it is always an issue for the authorities to understand which designs are preferred by the public and which perform best in conveying the required information. A total of 100 Malaysians completed six journey-planning tasks using two network bus maps, which were different in designs. The two bus map designs involved in this study are based on previous map analysis research.
The study found that majority of respondents were competent as they successfully completed the journey planning task, with more than 80 percent of the tasks being answered correctly. Additional enquiries proved that the effective design used in a bus map can attract more users to use public transportation, thus provide evidence that map availability can play a part in enhancing public transport ridership.