Metropolitan Transit Authority: Paratransit App Development

The challenge

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), hired OATS to consult on the design of the paratransit section of their new app, “MYmta,” and to bring seniors to the table to inform the future of paratransit services and Access-A-Ride in New York City.

The strategy

Ensure that the unique needs of older adults who use the Access-A-Ride system 20,000 times each day were taken into consideration for the design and development of a new app. Provide opportunities for older adults to participate in conversations regarding the changes that were being made to the paratransit system.

The solution

OATS joined forces with the MTA’s paratransit team and the consulting firm Globant in what is known as a “human-centered co-design” process, focusing on the lived experiences of paratransit customers, and their perspectives and solutions for a new product. OATS advised the app developer on best practices for designing technology for older adults, and mobilized Senior Planet members to help evaluate the design of the app and ensure that accessibility features were suitable for older adults. In addition to hosting focus groups and feedback sessions, OATS co-organized and facilitated a “Paratransit Mobile App Forum” that brought together stakeholders and seniors from across the city to participate in a design-thinking session at the MTA’s headquarters to address the challenges in the system that had been noted during the research phase of the project, and propose creative solutions that could help drive innovation in the system in the short term and into the future.