How can we help people to travel as safely as possible on Public Transport during a pandemic?

COVID has disrupted every aspect and function of life, including the way we use public transport. Leveraging the power of technology has helped and supported us in getting through these challenging times. It acts as a key lifeline for many people. Allowing us to keep in touch with loved ones and stay safe with the use of track and trace apps, news alerts and more – all highly accessible through mobile devices.  

With technology playing such an important role in all areas of day to day life, TfNSW set a challenge to look at “How technology can be used to empower people to make safe and informed travel decisions during COVID?” 


Tigerspike and TfNSW have a longstanding and successful relationship in the development of digital products and services for the citizens of NSW. As a result of the unique challenges and landscape brought about by COVID, this collaborative partnership set out to rapidly design and build an experience within the Opal Travel App (OTA) to help the community travel COVID Safe. The objectives were as follows: 

  • Encourage physical distancing to help minimise the spread of COVID 19
  • Empower customers to make better informed decisions about their travel plans

Delivering outcomes through innovation


A design thinking session was held to quickly and collaboratively conceptualise ways in which we could deliver COVID safe travel alerts to customers.

The key brief of the session was to go beyond a one-size fits all approach and explore ways that we could deliver a tailored and genuine improvement in the travel experience for customers.

Through the use of remote whiteboard tools, a highly skilled multi-disciplined team and a can-do attitude to help the community, the team design thinking session was a great success. 

Following this, top-level concepts, overall strategy and plans were confirmed. This set the foundation for the team to move into a detailed design and rapid build phase utilising the SCRUM framework. 


Citizen Education

What are Covid Safe Travel Notifications?

The COVID Safe Travel Notification functionality released through the Opal Travel App provides eligible NSW customers with the opt-in ability to receive, proactive and personalised alerts; enabling them to make informed decisions on when to enter the transport network.

COVID Safe Travel Notifications help customers answer the following  key questions:

  • Does my regular service have space-based on physical distancing? 
  • Is my upcoming trip affected by delays?

Notification examples

When speed to market is critical

Given the disruptive impact that COVID-19 has had on everyday life, speed to market was essential. The project was executed within a remote working environment in an extremely short time, proving what can be achieved when working within these constraints. 

The project adopts a launch and learn approach, with the appetite to make improvements once the feature is out in the community.  

Working within a new and ever-changing landscape full of constraints, challenges and opportunities has always been a part of doing business; though these unprecedented times has taken this notion to the next level, challenging us to step up in ways we didn’t see coming at the start of 2020.


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