Metro Audio Guide

Audio guides on the Metro enable passengers to discover local favorite spots along their route and to receive the necessary information to return to them later.

In this one-month project for the Copenhagen Metro, one of the world’s most sophisticated and reliable public transportation systems, we investigated ways to enhance the travel experience for passengers through a number of iterative prototypes.

We began our research with a number of in-depth interviews of tourists and non-Danish-speaking residents of Copenhagen and the surrounding area, and learned about their travel habits, preferences, and difficulties. Many first-time visitors were confused about how to get into the city from the airport and which means of transportation to use, so we tested a first prototype of a large and simplified metro map in the arrivals hall of the airport. Many people responded very positively, especially since the local attractions we plotted on the map helped them orientate themselves, and we spoke to nearly 40 travelers in a matter of a few hours.

As we distilled insights from our interviews, it became clear that many travelers prefer forms of transportation that allow for a visual or other connection to the outside world, and that many first-time visitors were unaware of alternative attractions or local favorite spots, especially along the route from the airport to the city.

We decided to create museum-style audio guides on the Metro that would enable travelers to discover new destinations along their journey by creating a connection between the inside of the train and the environment outside. Through three different prototypes, tested on the Metro over the course of two weeks, along with dozens of interviews, we created a combined audio, print, and digital information system. Passengers pick up one of the earpieces mounted on the windows and can follow along with the audio guide in the brochures. A QR code and sms service, along with a map on the brochure, provide the information to find the described locations at a later time.

Passengers become more engaged on the train, with the audio guides often sparking conversations and causing smiles. Visitors learn about new destinations off the beaten path, while locals discover some history or new aspects of their city.

The Metro benefits from digital customer engagement and tracking, the possibility for dozens of new partnerships with local businesses, and increased ticket purchases as passengers take the Metro again to visit their new destinations.