If you live or work in Omaha, Nebraska you might have noticed a few changes afoot when it comes to the public transit system. Recently, those buses that were really starting to show their age were replaced with two dozen sparkling new ones – thanks to more than $7 million in funding by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. But that wasn’t the only thing that happened; along with those new buses came a new look for the Metro Area Transit as well. In case you haven’t heard, MAT is now Metro. So why the change?
Oxide Design Company, who was recently tasked with developing a new name and identity system for Metro, determined that both the brand and identity of MAT had been seriously neglected for a number of years. Through their preliminary research into MAT’s nearly 40-year existence, Oxide discovered that multiple logos were being used on buses and signage throughout Omaha, fostering an inconsistent, unprofessional image of the transit system. Perhaps that wasn’t an issue in the past, but Oxide argued that commuters who make use of public transit today have a wealth of other transportation options at their disposal; they are looking for a transit system with economic and eco-friendly appeal.
“A lot of public focus is starting to be placed on mass public transit throughout the nation. MAT has a great opportunity to shine at this moment of increased awareness.” (Drew Davies, Oxide Design Co.)
Metro’s intentions for this new, more dynamic identity are to convey a number of key words and impressions of public transportation: safe, clean, dependable, consistent, convenient and progressive. The new name is also meant to imply a system that is one part of a larger whole on a national level, building trust amongst local users of the transit system. Inspired by earlier MAT logos, the design of the slanted ‘m’ and graphics assist in bridging the gap from the past logo to this more contemporary identity.
“We are asking [the public] to think differently about public transportation; this new image shows we are, too,” (Curt Simon, executive director for Metro)
In addition to the new identity, Oxide also redesigned their corporate website, www.ometro.com, to reflect the new look and identity system. The new site reorganizes what is a vast amount of information into a more intuitive, understandable interface and structure where visitors can take a look at a complete route map, plan a trip or get additional information on fares and passes.