Transport as a service in Sydney’s North West


    Sydney Metro Northwest is the first stage of Australia’s most advanced railway. It has brought a turn-up-and-go, driverless metro rail system to one of Sydney’s major growth areas, which also has the highest car ownership levels per household in Australia. Despite its benefits, the new metro line alone would not guarantee the behaviour change needed from citizens: putting down their car keys and using public transport.

    In response, an Integrated Services Plan (ISP) was designed with customers and transport stakeholders to orchestrate how all modes of transport and mobility will come together as a service ecosystem to support the change in behaviour. 


    The plan aimed to:

    • place the customer at the centre of the transport network
    • define which, where, and when services will be delivered from 2018 – 2024
    • define how they will be connected to support customer’s journeys
    • define the programme of work required to implement the ISP
    • provide a compelling alternative to private car use
    • use Sydney Metro launch as a catalyst for change
    • align with Future Transport’s commitment to Customer Centred Design
    • create a model for the application of CCD in the development of future ISPs.

    Traditional modelling could identify movement patterns and potential patronage, but not the day-to-day needs of customers and how they make transport decisions. Using human-centred design and working directly with people and transport stakeholders led to new insights around issues like the habitual convenience of driving, parental trust and the impact of before-and-after school activities. Understanding the complexities of individuals meant we could design mass transport at a scale that meets individual needs. 

    The result was a transport plan that connects people to Sydney Metro and lays the foundations for an intergenerational behavioural shift towards public transport use in an area that has been historically underserved.

    How we did it 

    Our project commenced in October of 2017 and was delivered in May of 2018 by a team of Meld Studios, Sydney Metro, and Transport for NSW designers and planners.

    Throughout a rigorous and iterative customer centred design process the team directly engaged with over 60 people from across Sydney’s North West in 2-3 hour one-on-one research and prototype testing sessions. 

    Our team also collaborated with over 50 stakeholders from across Sydney Metro, Transport for NSW, RMS, and local Councils, bringing them together to codesign the network directly with the citizens who will ultimately use the service.

    Our approach is captured in this video.  



    The primary output was an Integrated Services Plan (ISP) that addresses the complex transportation needs of customers from their home to their destination and back home again—delivering on the aims mentioned above. It connects people to Sydney Metro and lays the foundations for an intergenerational behavioural shift towards public transport use in an area that has been historically underserved.

    The plan will have many benefits across its 2018-2024 scope. It will help Sydney Metro, TfNSW and their many stakeholders to:

    • Shape transport services around customer’s needs rather than demanding customers shape their behaviours around transport services.
    • Focus on families and engage children with transport early in their lives, changing generational car-driving behaviour.
    • Create a roadmap that covers implementation for years to come, including when the metro line connects Sydney’s North West with the CBD and South West in 2024.
    • Define a new, repeatable way of working for Sydney Metro and Transport for NSW to increase confidence that the experience of transport will be enough to change car-driving behaviour.

    This project received a Gold award at the 2019 Good Design Awards for excellence in public sector service design. 

    Good Design Award

    Interested in something like this?

    Let’s chat.

    Speak to us

    Related case studies


    Coaching the Australian Bureau of Statistics to create new digital services

    Australian Bureau of Statistics is on a journey to become a human-centred organisation, with the aim of delivering better services for the people of Australia. Meld Studios is supporting ABS with this ambition. It is a multi-year journey that has started with building in-house design skills and coaching teams as they navigate a range of projects.

    Curious how we can help? Lets chat.