Switching to Public Transport
Switching to public transport has been an innovative action in many respects: It has confirmed in practice the new "customer consciousness" that has been developing in the public transport industry over the last few years.
Following the EUROBAROMETER study in 1991, the research showed that the public's attitude to public transport was very favourable. However, this was not reflected in their behaviour. That is to say, most people like to think of "other people using public transport" but not themselves. However, in the last years everyone is having to face up to the mobility crisis particularly in our urban areas, and this has included having to change habits and our chosen mode of transport.
Socialdata has been active in research on mobility behaviour for almost 40 years now - and ever since all results show that - in terms of increasing public transport patronage - subjective ("soft") factors (system perception) are as important as objective ("hard") factors (actual system).
Follow these findings, Socialdata has developed an innovative marketing approach called "Individualised marketing". The concept of individualised marketing had been tested in a number of pilot projects and had proven to be highly successful. The Switching to Public Transport experiment, with over fourty operators in Europe, shows that effective marketing in Public transport can increase very convincingly the level of ridership. The experiment has been made in partnership with UITP members and Socialdata.
The results show that marketing can have a positive effect on getting people to "Switch to Public Transport": If properly applied, personalised encouragement / motivation and information lead to considerable increases in public transport patronage.
It is interesting to note from the results, that a great potential for increasing the patronage of Public Transport lies in off-peak times, by the infrequent users of Public Transport, but not with the people who never used Public Transport. This means patronage can be increased if the two are made in parallel. The increased patronage comes from customers who, in general, are not reluctant to use the system, but they need additional motivation and advice that enables them to make more trips by public transport.
The Switching to public transport report not only presents the results of a successful international demonstration project but an important marketing tool for the new century: It offers a clear and concise introduction to Individualised Marketing, adapted to the public transport industry.
The report is available in two parts - the report and the technical handbook. The report covers the general concept of individualised marketing while the technical handbook goes into greater detail about the projects and some individual members of the experiment give their views and comments on the how effective the actions were.
Every part of the report can be ordered separately at the UITP .