Milwaukee County Transit System


mcts mobile site
mcts slider image
mcts excellence
mcts trip planner
mcts fares

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) has grown from a single horse-drawn streetcar in 1860 to the largest transit system in Wisconsin. With a fleet of 410 diesel buses and a dedicated team of 1,100 operators, mechanics and administrative staff, MCTS provides on average 150,000 rides every day to people across Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha Counties who rely on the system to get to work, school and medical appointments. Ascedia partnered with advertising agency Boelter + Lincoln to give the MCTS a refresh that would support mobile users and reflect the organization’s status as one of the top transit systems in the country.

mobile website

Missing the Mobile Market

The MCTS website needed to adapt to meet the needs of the modern, mobile user. 85% of visitors were visiting the site on mobile devices and needed easy access to time-sensitive information like route changes and detours. MCTS wanted to simplify the process of looking up bus schedules and make it easier for people – including new riders, young professionals and tourists – to take the bus.

The redesign also needed to simplify the administration process so that the MCTS team could quickly and easily schedule route updates and alerts. The new site needed to include search functionality for bus stop numbers so that users can see when the next bus is arriving in real time, and provide a space for riders and drivers to share positive stories of their experiences using the bus. 

up-to-moment information

Up-to-the-Moment Information

Ascedia and Boelter + Lincoln held strategic planning sessions with MCTS to gain a full understanding of the challenges of their existing site and brainstorm new features. The two teams worked together seamlessly in a dedicated workshop, where they walked through each point from the wireframes and visual representations (VRs) to write user stories and craft the user experience. Boelter + Lincoln also contributed to the testing and content development process while Ascedia’s development team built the new site features. 

The new site uses Google API to for its map functionality, which integrates real-time data into the maps on the site. Ascedia also developed the Excellence section of the site which showcases personal stories and rider experiences that reflect the impact MCTS and its services and employees have on the community at large.

Ascedia and Boelter + Lincoln did a soft launch of the website in order to gather feedback from power users of the site. This approach helped the team get a full sense of how users are actually using the site, and identify any gaps before the website launched to the public while strengthening MCTS’ brand by demonstrating their dedication to user satisfaction.

Together, Ascedia and Boelter + Lincoln created a two-year marketing plan for MCTS that kicks off with the website redesign. The new site enables Boelter + Lincoln to develop specific marketing initiatives and campaigns that can flow through it in the coming years. 

website analytics

Back to the Future

Ascedia completed the MCTS website ahead of schedule, and it launched in March 2017 with a massive campaign that included electronic signage on the front of city buses and a proclamation from Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele designating MCTS Excellence Week. The website has helped MCTS keep pace with other best-in-class transportation organizations around the country. It is easier for the administrative team to maintain and provides real-time information to mobile site users who use MCTS services.

In the first month after launch, the site saw:

  • New sessions increased from 18.91% to 27.82%
  • New mobile sessions increased from 14.34% to 22.86%
  • Bounce rate increased from 31.37% to 38.92%, reflecting users’ ability to find the information they need more quickly

MCTS is continuing to leverage the site to roll out new advertising and promotional campaigns from Boelter + Lincoln, and the organization has discussed developing an app to provide additional support for mobile users.