MARTA Hackathon

Smarter Ride // Hacking MARTA in 24 Hours

Project Brief

For over a quarter of a century, MARTA has moved over 3.5 billion people throughout Atlanta and the surrounding cities. Today, MARTA is one of the top 10 transportation agencies in the United States.* The MARTA Hackathon series is a yearlong strategic technology initiative led by MARTA, Sandbox ATL, Code for Atlanta, HackGT, and other community groups to help create the next great thing in ATL transit. 

I had the pleasure of working with a team of developers and fellow UX designers to create a solution that would convert infrequent MARTA riders into more frequent users of Atlanta’s public transportation system.


Research, Wireframing, Visual Design


Adobe Photoshop, Sketch



Our project lead conceptualized an add-on to the existing MARTA app that would integrate ride sharing apps, such as Uber, even allowing for Uber Pool when other commuters are present.  This solution would offer potential riders who currently opt-out of public transportation because they’d rather not endure a grueling bus route before transferring to the much faster train system an alternative solution while increasing ridership. Furthermore, rather than utilizing multiple apps to coordinate transportation, these riders could accomplish their goals in a single platform.

I took lead on creating screens that would keep the user informed about their route, upcoming stops, and possible delays.


MARTA Snapshot

  • MARTA is the ninth largest transit system in the country

  • The MARTA service area encompasses the counties of Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, and the City of Atlanta

  • With an annual budget of nearly $1 billion, MARTA provides more than 400,000 passenger trips a day through heavy rail, bus and paratransit services

  • Rail service is maintained for a span of up to 21 hours, seven days per week


Comparative Analysis

Before sketching, our team explored similar apps and customer feedback to get a sense of what currently was working well in the marketplace and what pain points still existed. We studied several apps including Moovit, CItymapper and Google Maps. My focus was centered on how users were informed about where they were in their journey along and how they received pertinent ride information.



Moovit offers a clean interface allowing the user to easily swipe up and down between navigational views while packing in a ton of useful information



Citymapper does a solid job of integrating a host of other modes of transit beyond public transportation, including ride sharing services


Google Maps

Google Maps gives useful guidance in both contracted and expanded views; keeping riders informed about the number of stops along the different bus and train routes along their journey




With such a short time frame, I was still able to work through a few iterations to incorporate as much relevant information for my user in the route navigation screen.

First Iteration, Low Fidelity

First Iteration, Low Fidelity

Second Iteration, Mid Fidelity

Second Iteration, Mid Fidelity

Iterations and Completed Design

For my completed design, it was important that the visual design was clean and packed with information. Once a rider’s route begins, I wanted them to be informed along the entire route without having to navigate an overwhelming amount of screens and in our case apps.


I love participating in hackathons because they require you to think lean and fast, but there’s a ton of opportunity for going forward.  For future iterations, I would suggest exploring:

  • Gamifyng the experience with points and rewards

  • Give the rider the ability to share with friends and family where they are along their route

  • Favorite frequent routes and preferred modes of transit