Transit Standards: Branding, Design & Graphics Standards for Public Transportation

Transit Standards contains more than 30 transit agency graphics standards manuals from around the world, as well as dozens of articles, examples, and case studies on branding & identity, customer experience & wayfinding, and digital & social media, compiled by Stewart Mader.

LA Metro Brand Guidelines
LA Metro Brand Guidelines

Brand & Graphics Standards


Branding & Identity

British Rail InterCity 125: "Look what you gain when you travel by train"
British Rail: “Look what you gain when you travel by train”

Customer Experience & Wayfinding

Digital & Social Media


Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)

BART takes customers behind the scenes with a visual of maintenance work, as well as a plug for employment opportunities.

BART engages customers in decision-making about what information to provide in platform-level display cases.

BART includes maps showing alternate service options near BART stations during a service outage caused by a track fire.

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

CTA provides specific guidance on a nearby alternate bus route while service on the L Pink Line is disrupted by a mechanical problem.

CTA’s #YourNewBlue Program, will promoted by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, encompasses track and station upgrade along the L Blue Line between Grand and O’Hare stations to improve customer experience and reduce travel time.

CT Rail – Hartford Line

Hartford Line – Map depicting service on a new rail line connecting New Haven, CT, Hartford, CT, and Springfield, MA shows how Connecticut is developing a transit ‘spine’ through the center of the state. Bus rapid transit is included as well, and the “one ticket, any train” policy and messaging is an excellent way to ensure a smooth customer experience.

CT Rail Hartford Line Service Map
CT Rail Hartford Line Service Map

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro)

LA Metro collaborates with Los Angeles Football Club and professional soccer player Latif Blessing to produce an ad showing fans how to trade the car for the train to get to the team’s matches.

LA Metro encourages its riders who use social media to share its updates with timely information on alternate options during service disruptions.

LA Metro Bike Share uses social media to attract riders with a $2 Tuesdays promotion.


MetroTransit gives Minneapolis transit riders clear, useable information on where to board eastbound Green Line trains during a service change caused by a vehicle blocking tracks.


Midttrafik, a Danish bus company, borrows from movie trailers to promote its bus services with The Bus, and The Bus: The Sequel.

New Haven Railroad

Herbert Matter’s Logo Design Process: “When Herbert Matter got the job to design a new logo for the New Haven Railroad he literally went through hundreds of sketches before arriving at the final logo. Herbert Matter(c) Official Site –”

New York City Transit

New York City Subway shares information on planned service changes via social media using a visual layout that matches the design and information architecture of posters displayed in stations.

New York City Subway uses photos to show customers what was accomplished during weekend work on subway lines.

Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH)

PATH reminds riders about its alternate service guide, which highlights alternative options riders can use if service is disrupted on the subway connecting New York & New Jersey.

PATH uses photos to show construction progress on new tracks and platforms at the World Trade Center station.

Regional Transportation District (RTD)

RTD invites Denver-region residents to participate in a telephone town hall to learn about operations, get project status updates, and ask questions of the agency’s board of directors.

Sound Transit

Seattle’s Sound Transit reminds customers to remove backpacks with a message from the backpack’s perspective that avoids coming across with an admonishing tone.

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)

TTC uses simple, customer-friendly language to help riders use alternate transit options during a service disruption.

Transport for London (TfL)

TfL uses icons to ensure messages reach non-native English speakers.

TfL uses a night-sky themed campaign to advertise new night service on the London Overground.

TfL previews The New Tube for London, the next-generation train that will run on the Piccadilly, Bakerloo, Central, and Waterloo & City lines, with an ad that shows the train in action.

TfL promotes access for all by sharing its work with the Alzheimer’s Society to educate employees about how to recognize and assist customers who may be suffering from dementia.

TfL’s Every Journey Matters campaign outlines the agency’s investments in infrastructure, technology, and vehicles to improve access, provide reliable service, and put the customer first.


Västtrafik, a Swedish transit provider, appeals to people with ads that apply some of the best themes of car commercials to transit: tight shots of a fast drive through stunning natural scenery, closeups of aerodynamic curves, and the allure of a test drive.

If we do not define our brand, others will define it for us. We must be certain about what we stand for and claim it at every touch point. –California Transit Association