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Redesigning Metro system in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic

Project Details

4th Semester Design Project 

UI/UX | Service Design 

Under guidance of:

Prof. Partha Pratim Das


2 months (June'20-July'20) + 15 random days of December (MSDC'21)

Team (Solo):

Me, myself, and I

My role:

Research (secondary + primary),

Synthesis and analysis,

Service Blueprinting


Solution development,

Visual presentation,


Future roadmapping

mr jaggi_1.png

Meet Mr. Jaggi

A happy go lucky person with a passion for travelling (for work, to meet friends, and explore the city to his heart's content)

However, he has not been able to do that recently (and so is the case for 50 lakh more people)


Problem Overview

Because COVID-19 is not doing anyone any favours.

The closing of Metro services amid the pandemic has been worrisome for both: 

1) Metro has been incurring losses due to closure

2) People have had to use buses (less reliable) and cabs (expensive)  as alternatives for travel

Group 622.png

How Might We restart the metro services in the pandemic such as it is safe for travelers to use, while making sure it is useful for

post-pandemic as well?

Problem Breakdown 

Pandemic starts, lockdown imposed

Metro shut down as it is non-essential

Lockdown lifted, metro remains closed

Metro incurs losses

People face difficulty in travel

User Journey Before: 

How did Mr. Jaggi travel earlier?  

Prev System
present journey.png

Move towards platform through stairs, lift, escalator

* Railings of stairs, escalators, and buttons of lifts are carriers of virus. No social distancing in lifts, and on stairs.

Experience need to travel: search for nearest station and reach there

Recharge card, or take a token from counter (if card is not there)

* Tokens, card, cash, and TVMs are easy carriers of virus. 

Place bags on X-ray machine, get security check done, collect bags

Scan card/token and move forward

Board train, find seat in coaches, de-board train, scan token/card, exit.

* No social distancing inside metro. 

Physical touchpoints such as pole, grab handles, etc. 


* COVID-19 Gaps 

Service Blueprint Before: 

What happens backend?  

The most notable insight from the Service Blueprint is that currently for the 8 steps mentioned, only 3 involve front-end employee actions.

Group 642.png

Consolidated Findings 

Research Findings


Opening DMRC in its present state would be catastrophic wrt the COVID-19 pandemic


Currently, there is no known firefighting system that could replace the current system


People benefit from accountability as they themselves forget about personal hygiene caution such as wearing a mask


People prefer transparency of system as it gives them assurance


There's a need to open metro as both the corporation and people are facing difficulty due to its slow down.

Finding #1: Opening DMRC in its present state would be catastrophic wrt the COVID-19 pandemic

Design Direction: Metro's Released Directives + WHO Guidelines

Guidelines to adhere to: 

The Must Have's and the Constraints 

1. All TVMs (Ticket Vending Machines) to be removed, as cash can be a carrier of virus.: DMRC

2. 1 meter gap to be maintained throughout. : WHO + DMRC

3. Everyone should wear mask: WHO + DMRC

4. Alternate seats to be marked as 'X' to ensure social distancing inside metro coaches: DMRC

5. People having fever should not travel: WHO + DMRC

6. Full sanitation to be carried out at regular intervals to remove virus from common touchpoints: DMRC


Finding #2: Currently, there is no known firefighting system that could replace the current system

Design Decision: To build a firefighting system for DMRC that focuses on how to reopen it, keeping the other findings and insights in mind.

User Journey After: 

How will Mr. Jaggi travel now?  

Given below is the new system map (user journey), of how Mr. Jaggi can travel via metro in the new normal. 

This system has been built keeping the findings and the aforementioned design directions in mind.

  • Coach saturation information on display boards inside train

  • Separate Entry Exit points

  • Alternate Seat 

Monitoring Users:

Face Masks + Thermal Scanning

      Other Guidelines:

  • Stickers placed after every 6ft.

  • TVMs removed to prevent cash transactions

  • Full sanitation of stations and trains carried out everyday

QR Ticket scanners placed. Ticket will only be generated if the user has linked mobile app is linked with Aarogya Setu

Sanitation Chamber: To clean out any virus on surface

  • Only 3 people to travel in lift at once

  • Colour coding alternative stairs on escalators

new user journey_1.png

Users allowed to enter only if 50% travelling threshold of metro hasn't achieved.

Users can check threshold real-time on mobile app alerts.

Syncing with Aarogya Setu 

Just after installing the Delhi Metro App, the very first screen asks you to connect your Aaorgya Setu account with it.

This is to make sure that:

  • Your movement information is shared with Delhi Metro, so in case someone with COVID-19 is found in metro, a robust quarantine can be done.

  • The QR Ticket (discussed later on) will only be generated if you're tagged 'Safe' on Aaorgya Setu

  • You can view the Aarogya Tag of nearby passengers for increased transparency.


Check Alerts for any COVID-19 threats 

Floating alerts placed at top will alert you if there is any COVID-19 threat onboard.

For alerts marked critical by the management, the colour red has been allotted, while other important information has been marked with a blue.


Check Threshold of Station 

For crowd control, metro will allow only 50% of commuters to be in the station at once. 

To find out this information, one can search for station information within the application itself. This data will be provided based on 'heat mapping' technology that Google uses to give traffic updates on Google Maps.

It is best to travel when the tag says 'Safe'


Travel Through the Route You Prefer 

Choose which route to take (if options available) based on the level of crowd. Indicator of crowd level shown by colour: 

Green- Safe, no crowd

Yellow: Low risk, low crowd

Red: High risk, huge crowd


Step 05: Generate Ticket 

Once everything is through, you can generate a QR Ticket to commence with your commute.


The QR Ticket has been implemented so that:

  • Only people who have connected their Aarogya Setu will be able to generate the ticket. Hence, greater safety! 

  • Only people who are marked 'Safe' on Aarogya Setu can generate the ticket.

  • This helps in filtering out even asymptomatic travelers who wouldn't have been caught with Thermal Scanners as they're likely to be tagged 'At Risk.

  • QR Ticket eliminates one major physical touchpoint.

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Standard Operating Procedure: 

What do the employees have to do? 

If all these measures are taken into place, then a situation should never arise wherein a COVID-19 patient is found on board the metro train. However, even after defying all odds, such a situation still arises, the following protocol will have to be carried out:

special sop@2x.png

Challenge 2: Low accountability as there's low front end employee-customer interaction

Opportunity 2: To increase front end employee actions for higher accountability of actions, and better execution 

New Service Blueprint 

The service blueprint of the new journey was constructed. The front end employee actions have increased from 3 for 8 to 7 for 9. This has been done so that they're more proactive and the users are made to feel accountable in case they try to break any rules.

Group 641.png

Proposed Future Developments 

Future Developments

Considering the extremely serious nature of the situation, the unlock and implementation of the application shall be done in 3 stages (as given below) so that there's no community level spread of the virus. The system will move forward in stages if and only if it passes the previous stages 100%. If not, the system shall be called off until a better solution can be ideated.


How did I reach here?

My Process

Secondary Research

(Literature Review)

Primary Research






Solution Development

- COVID-19 pandemic

- Safety regulations

- Metro condition

- Alternative travel          options

- Travelling in pandemic

- Expenditure of 


- Hygiene practices

- System Gaps

- Present Journey +        Service Blueprint

- Pain Points

- Need Statement  

- Focus Areas

- Ideation

- Idea                    Selection  

- Refinement

- Future                Roadmapping

Iteration: Phase 1 

In the phase-1 of ideation, I put together all the features of the existing mobile application, along with the new features that were essential to support the new DMRC System 2.O. 

The first prototype of the application were paper prototypes, which I used for an initial usability testing with 4 participants.

paper prototypes-01.jpg

Swipe for Information Architecture

Feedback Highlights 


Grow impatient when they can't complete a process in under 3 steps 


Prefer to use google maps location to find out nearest station as the existing position of the button is confusing and somewhat hidden


Do not like the fact that they have to open tabs to find information that could've been presented just as it is in the previous screen itself.

Iteration: Phase 2 

In the phase-2 of ideation, I started to combine elements together to make the application more simple and intuitive, I also employed the feedback from Ideation Phase-1.

The second  prototype of the application were digital wireframes, which I used for secondary usability testing with the same 4 participants.


Feedback Highlights 


Alert Colour taking too much of attention, and is hence distracting


Do not like the metro colour wise classification of stations, as many of them don't remember the station's colour.

Final Iteration: 

Visual Design 

With the consolidated data from all other ideation sessions, I started building the high fidelity mockups. Find the Alignment information, iconography, typography, and colour scheme below:


Limitations of Solution 

• QR Tickets require change of technology across all platforms. Though it provides a hands-free approach which is considering COVID-19, it would also be an expensive approach.

• The success of the system lies heavily upon the people: those working at DMRC and those who ae travelling through the metro. A lax approach on their end for their security could hamper the whole system.


Key Takeaways 

• This project was my first introduction into the world of service design. It was refreshing to extend into this domain and learn about new tools such as Service Blueprint. It gave me an insight as to how to include the service providers a bit more into the design. Doing so can help you figure out whether what we’re designing is even feasible or not.

• Absolutely no amount of re-evaluation is enough. The more you review, the more refined the end process becomes. Had I signed off on the project the first time it was ‘complete’, the project wouldn’t have been the same.

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