Introducing transit colours and names on Rome2rio and why it matters

rome2rio Transit colours project
Published December 7, 2016

Colour does not add a pleasant quality to design – it reinforces it.

– Pierre Bonnard

The team at Rome2rio have spent the past seven years building a product that helps you when travelling large distances; from Rome to Rio for instance. That long range travel planning only forms part of the story. Someone using Rome2rio often starts with dreaming about a foreign locale, continues onto the exciting booking stage and often ends up utilising the mobile app to navigate transit options once on the ground. By then they’re sometimes tired, often hungry and always ready to reach the comfort of a place to rest their head and prepare for adventures of tomorrow.

It’s this final leg and the complexity of intra-city transit that prompted us to look into how we display this information and what could be done to improve the experience for our users. After some team discussion, we decided to tackle two key design elements that would be beneficial to our users – transit line colours and transit line names.

Why did we choose these two elements? Let’s take for example the New York City MTA, a world famous transit system with an iconic colour and symbol scheme. It also has 34 services and 469 stations – a daunting prospect for a new visitor to the city that never sleeps. Before we undertook our redesign project we treated line and station information in the same way that we treated other transport information on the site. By doing this we failed to take advantage of the visual language of colour used in real life signage. The differences seem subtle but have an enormous impact on the readability of our directions – particularly on the move.

The screenshots below show the before and after for each stage of the Rome2rio search for a number of locations in New York.

Rome2rio Mobile Query Pane

Rome2rio Mobile Route Pane

Rome2rio Mobile Map Pane

These improvements have been live on the site for some time. So far they are well received by our customers. If you have feedback about improvements to Rome2rio we would love to hear it. Simply send a message to

Written by
Rome2rio Chief Operations Officer
Rome2rio, based in Melbourne, Australia, is organising the world’s transport information. We offer a multi-modal, door-to-door travel search engine that returns itineraries for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving options to and from any location. Discover the possibilities at