Ready Artwork: Bringing LA’s Metro Micro to Life with Microtransit
Los Angeles is famous in households all around the globe and one of the most common impressions is that Commuting in Los Angeles is a nightmare. The entire team here at Ready Artwork can attest to that since our offices have been here in Los Angeles for over a decade and a half. Los Angeles is very different from other major cities around the country and world.
Most people think large cities have super high population density and advanced public transportation options with busses and subways, think New York, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, etc.
The city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County are actually very spread out. Only a small cluster of buildings in downtown Los Angeles feels like what you typically see in Hollywood Movies. The rest of Los Angeles is actually fairly flat and because of that, taxi rides are super expensive. Most people could not get through their day without jumping into cars and onto congested freeways to get around.
Over the years, ridership of short-trip public transportation dropped as more and more people owned personal vehicles. It became a cultural norm. Riding the bus or taking the rail was not common in Los Angeles because of many factors and just the plain fact that Angelinos love the freedom of driving on their own schedule.
It wasn’t until ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft started to pick up the momentum that Angelinos started to slowly give up the steering wheel. Unlike major cities with taxi cab culture, Los Angeles had to actually learn to rely on others to get around.
Aside from getting to the local bar and back home safely for cheap, the program also addressed a common issue popping up within communities with large suburban populations and long rail lines, the “first and last mile” problem. This is referring to super-commuters (people who own cars and have to commute on public transportation over 1 hour each way regularly) who live just far enough away from the bus or rail stations to not be able to walk there.
Parking at stations is not only expensive but also doesn’t usually have enough capacity to accommodate everyone. GoMonrovia was a friendlier option that didn’t involve waiting at the bus stop to get home, then walking from the nearest bus stop to the house. It sounds crazy and lazy, but Angelinos don’t walk much outside of downtown Los Angeles.
After the big success of GoMonrovia, Ready Artwork was connected to the wonderful people at LA Metro who saw the winning potential to build out something at a much larger scale across Los Angeles county. The Program was dubbed Metro Micro referencing Micro Transit.
Somewhere over the 2-year conversation as we were getting ready to start, the world got hit with a Pandemic that ground everything to a snail’s pace, but even with all the uncertainty and challenges, we all knew how important this program was, especially during a Pandemic where the communities were being ravaged economically, mentally and bodily, remaining mobile for essential trips could make a world of difference for many families. So we pushed forward.
Why Ready Artwork?
Good question, so why Ready Artwork? Aside from launching a successful mirco-transit program in the Los Angeles area and understanding the issues from the ground level, Ready Artwork has worked with hundreds of organizations both public and private over the last 17 years to solve problems.
Ready Artwork is in the business of problem-solving and some of the tools we use are brand consulting, graphic design, digital marketing, UI/UX design, and web accessibility.
Challenge of the Metro Micro Project
Metro itself as a client, because of the sheer size of the organization already is a big challenge, but on top of that, Metro Micro will be the world’s largest Micro transit program once it is fully operational with a projected 100-vehicle fleet and a price tag of $28 million dollars, the pressure to succeed is even greater than ever.
As previously mentioned, COVID slowed down the process and project start date, but in typical #agencylife fashion, the deadlines and launch dates don’t get the same treatment. So with a shortened delivery time, so far, we have launched the first of six zones.
The work intensity, speed, accuracy and organizational skills required to pace our counterparts at different Metro departments have been eye-opening. As you can imagine, Metro with almost 10,000 employees servicing about 1,500 square miles of LA county, has a lot of rules and regulations, especially when it comes to brand guidelines.
Building Mutual Trust
When working with other designers or programmers, there is always a hesitation from the client-side because it feels like handing your baby over to a stranger for the first time. The first assignment we worked on with the Metro design team was a full-on splash when it comes to testing that relationship and showing off Ready Artwork’s capabilities.
Ready Artwork was asked to go through a design exercise of 4 completely different concepts for Metro Micro with a dozen full mockups for each concept consisting of the vehicle wraps, app UI, flyers, wayfinders, webpages, etc. 48 pieces of polished design pieces were delivered and presented within the week. It was like jumping into a cold swimming pool for the first time on a warm sunny day. That kick-started Metro’s trust in Ready Artwork.
Our project manager, art director, graphic designers, and consultants worked together to deliver for Metro.
Here are some beautiful samples of what we’ve worked on:
Microtransit is the new mode of transportation for suburbs everywhere. Ready Artwork is very thankful to be involved in such a transformative movement with one of the world’s biggest public transportation organizations. We are excited to be at the forefront of how the future will travel.