The Greater Melbourne region contains the world's largest tram network, over 300 bus routes, and several train networks. As in many large cities, public transport is provided by a number of different organisations. This can make it difficult to use for residents and visitors alike.
The Metlink Melbourne website provides a unified site for all the public transport in the city of 4 million people. It provides official routes, timetables, fares, news, and service disruption notices.
Metlink Melbourne is one of the two busiest public transport websites in Australia, and experiences significant spikes during the Melbourne Cup and the Australian Open.
What we did
- We ported the website from an ageing platform to the SilverStripe CMS, as the first stage of a multi-year plan to enhance the website.
- We improved uptime, response time, and increased capacity while reducing the production environment from 6 to 4 servers.
- We ensured the website can be updated during high traffic spikes.
- We integrated the website with existing journey-planning and timetabling software, including establishing a two-way flow of information between the systems.
- We trained in-house IT staff acquire SilverStripe development skills remotely through temporary job reassignment and remote training. The training allowed greater in-house control and responsibility for the site.
- We improved the internal website of the Metlink call centre, which is used to answer timetable and journey-planning enquiries via the phone.
- We preserved the website's original URLs and set up automatic redirects to SilverStripe's human-readable, friendly URLs.
What users can do now
An important project goal was to move the website to SilverStripe without the public knowing there had been a change. What users have noticed is that the improved search system that makes content easier to find and, importantly, that the website remains up even when under the strain of high traffic.
Measures of success
- We completed a complex CMS migration project within a short timeframe. Metlink was still researching the CMS market in September. Our work was ready to launch by Christmas.
- We impressed Metlink staff with how smoothly the production server was switched to SilverStripe on the day of go-live.
- Metlink's non-technical communications staff can perform most website changes themselves, and no longer need to involve IT staff for small changes.
- Metlink's web development and IT staff now have greater control over their website.
- Metlink can now focus on the next stages of website development: improving the user interface, creating a mobile version, and allowing greater personalisation and services to frequent public transport users.
- 1 January 2010