Marketing and Communications – Mobility Lab https://mobilitylab.org Moving People... Instead of Just Cars Fri, 23 Jun 2017 21:55:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The world’s most elegant public transit campaign – CityLab https://mobilitylab.org/2017/04/07/the-world-s-most-elegant-public-transit-campaign-citylab/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/04/07/the-world-s-most-elegant-public-transit-campaign-citylab/#respond Fri, 07 Apr 2017 19:57:41 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21865 As an antidote to our distaste for Denver’s latest transit messaging, a wave of enjoyment is rushing over us to see the pure joy and inspiration Toronto is building for its public-transportation options. The Toronto Transit Commission has a new fleet of subway and streetcars, so why not show them off in style? In its latest... Read more »

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As an antidote to our distaste for Denver’s latest transit messaging, a wave of enjoyment is rushing over us to see the pure joy and inspiration Toronto is building for its public-transportation options.

The Toronto Transit Commission has a new fleet of subway and streetcars, so why not show them off in style?

In its latest ad campaign launched late last year, called We Move You, dancers from the National Ballet of Canada run, twirl, and twist their way through empty stations and rail cars with an elegance few riders can match.

“We wanted to reach existing customers to think about the TTC in a different way,” says TTC head of customer communications, Cheryn Thoun.

The TTC has been able to do more ambitious advertising than most North American systems over the years, but We Move You is about as highbrow as any campaign can get.

Read the complete article at CityLab

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Why would Denver RTD want its mascot to be a total jerk? https://mobilitylab.org/2017/04/07/why-would-denver-rtd-want-its-mascot-to-be-a-total-jerk/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/04/07/why-would-denver-rtd-want-its-mascot-to-be-a-total-jerk/#respond Fri, 07 Apr 2017 12:48:51 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21847 Yes, we get it, there are rude jerks on mass transit everywhere. But once again, it seems like the public-transportation industry is missing an opportunity. With the Denver Regional Transportation District’s ridership heading downward, couldn’t the system try inspiring people about its product rather than highlighting the things that people think are its worst aspects? A... Read more »

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Yes, we get it, there are rude jerks on mass transit everywhere.

But once again, it seems like the public-transportation industry is missing an opportunity. With the Denver Regional Transportation District’s ridership heading downward, couldn’t the system try inspiring people about its product rather than highlighting the things that people think are its worst aspects?

A loud man talking in public about his close call with an STD is the new face of a major mass transit system. Denver’s Regional Transportation District has just unveiled its new rider-behavior campaign, which revolves around the central character of “Jimmy,” a cartoon commuter with several behavioral problems.

“Jimmy’s the name…. Ruining your ride’s my game,” Jimmy menaces in one graphic. The RTD rolled out this boor to publicize its inaugural code of conduct, adopted in December.

Lisa Trujillo, manager of Project Outreach at RTD, said, “This campaign was developed to start a conversation, sway from traditional etiquette messaging, and provide passengers with something to think about while riding transit.”

As I’ve said before, getting people to ride transit, the bus, rail, bike, and walk will require simple, powerful, consistent, and, most importantly, positive messages about the experience.

Read more at CityLab

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Inspiring transit ridership requires meeting people where they are https://mobilitylab.org/2017/03/31/inspiring-transit-ridership-requires-meeting-people/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/03/31/inspiring-transit-ridership-requires-meeting-people/#comments Fri, 31 Mar 2017 19:08:42 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21766 Preferences and need are major factors that influence whether people take public transportation. And communicating to those people in the places they visit throughout their day is a key to improving and inspiring transit ridership. A new report from the American Public Transportation Association, Who Rides Public Transportation?, reveals insights that will be useful to... Read more »

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Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 2.19.59 PMPreferences and need are major factors that influence whether people take public transportation. And communicating to those people in the places they visit throughout their day is a key to improving and inspiring transit ridership.

A new report from the American Public Transportation Association, Who Rides Public Transportation?, reveals insights that will be useful to transportation professionals whose jobs require them to understand who rides transit, where they are going, and why they choose it.

The report finds that 71 percent of all transit riders are currently employed (as of the time of the survey). Putting this in context by adding work-commute trips to shopping, dining, and other social trips, APTA suggests every trip creates an economic benefit.

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Trip purposes – All transit users

 

Other interesting findings from the report about why people use transit include:

Differences across exact modes

Rail riders have a higher income, on average, than bus riders. As seen in the figure below, more people ride rail based on preference, since their income allows them to choose between multiple options. Bus riders, who generally have lower incomes, indicate need-based reasons for using transit in higher percentages than rail riders.

Thirteen percent of U.S. households have incomes less than $15,000. But that number rises to 21 percent in households that use transit – meaning transit is crucial for low-income households. They use it to get what they need, to go to doctor’s appointments, to go to school, and to run all of their other errands.

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Reason for transit use by transit modes

 

Another notable statistic is that rail riders are twice as likely as bus riders to cite taking transit due to the cost of parking. Relatedly, roughly 16 percent of bus riders use transit because they do not have a car (as opposed to the 1 percent of rail riders who say the same as their main reason for riding).

Rail riders typically have better access to cars, and thus care more about parking costs.

Bus riders, with significantly lower incomes, cannot afford these luxuries, and rely on transit for most of their needs, such as errands, school, and appointments.

Rail riders use transit more for work and recreation than bus riders. Rail riders are also more likely to be employed than bus riders, by almost 15 percent, so it makes sense that they would be using transit to get to work more.

Bus riders use transit more often than rail riders for need-based reasons, ranking about 5 percent higher than rail riders in using transit for appointments, school, and other reasons.

City size

Population differences also distinctly affect the reasons that people take transit. Larger cities see more transit use for work and recreation, while smaller cities use it for school, medical needs, and other purposes.

Following trends mentioned above, more than 70 percent of major city transit riders are employed, as opposed to the 40 percent of riders in small cities.

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Trip purpose and population

 

In addition, 20 percent of big-city transit riders earn a household income of $100,000 or more, nearly four times the percentage of high-income riders in small and mid-sized cities. In small and mid-sized cities, 45 percent of transit riders earn less than $15,000, while only 20 percent of big city populations do so.

This points towards what we see above with bus and rail riders. In big cities, people use transit for reasons aligned with preference, such as speed, convenience, and traffic, and smaller cities use it for need-based reasons.

Of interest are the two dominant and polarized reasons for taking transit in smaller cities: 26 percent cited convenience over driving, and 30 percent cited no access to a car.

Possible lessons

All of these trends are of interest for transportation demand management agencies looking to offer more transit options to new riders. For example, if connecting with existing transit riders is the goal, one can target rail riders, more employed than bus riders, through employers. Communicating with bus riders, who ride for more need-based reasons, could happen in community centers, doctor’s offices, or schools.

APTA’s report found that, in larger cities, riders mostly take transit to work and shopping and dining areas, whereas in small cities transit is used at a higher rate to reach schools and medical establishments.

These trends carry implications for TDM programs regarding how and where to best engage riders.

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Our Daily newsletter: We think you should subscribe https://mobilitylab.org/2017/03/31/daily-e-newsletter-think-subscribe/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/03/31/daily-e-newsletter-think-subscribe/#respond Fri, 31 Mar 2017 16:14:06 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21759 Are you in the transportation demand management industry? Are you in the wider fields of public transportation, planning, or technology? If the answer is yes, then chances are that you care about how people think about their transportation choices. We’ve mostly gotten into our cars and driven alone for the past 100 years. But now... Read more »

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Are you in the transportation demand management industry? Are you in the wider fields of public transportation, planning, or technology?

If the answer is yes, then chances are that you care about how people think about their transportation choices. We’ve mostly gotten into our cars and driven alone for the past 100 years. But now the options can be nearly limitless.

That’s where our new Mobility Lab Daily newsletter comes in.

Each workday, our staff scours the news for articles (sometimes not easy to find) that are related to transportation behavior – the people side, not the infrastructure side. Why is the people side so important? Partly because, when focusing on it, we can create much more affordable answers to our transportation ills – compared to massive infrastructure projects – that are most appropriate when a lack of funding options persists.

We’ve been tinkering with the design of what the Daily looks like, and we think this format may be the easiest for you to find quick and helpful in doing your jobs or just simply because you (like us) are fascinated by the sociology of transportation. But please let us know if you have any other ideas for how we can make the Daily even better.

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t yet, you can subscribe here.

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Arizona DOT’s quirky messaging is working – Arizona State Press https://mobilitylab.org/2017/03/30/arizona-dot-s-quirky-messaging-is-working-arizona-state-press/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/03/30/arizona-dot-s-quirky-messaging-is-working-arizona-state-press/#respond Thu, 30 Mar 2017 14:47:19 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21744 The Arizona Department of Transportation’s recent efforts to add a little fun to its traffic safety messaging is a nice model for all kinds of messaging for public-transportation agencies and advocates. Efforts such as messaging contests for the public and using pop-culture references in highway digital signage have created massive new social-media audiences for the... Read more »

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The Arizona Department of Transportation’s recent efforts to add a little fun to its traffic safety messaging is a nice model for all kinds of messaging for public-transportation agencies and advocates. Efforts such as messaging contests for the public and using pop-culture references in highway digital signage have created massive new social-media audiences for the agency, growing its influence considerably.

Drivers in Arizona may have noticed a quirky addition in their highway commutes. “DRINKING & DRIVING GO TOGETHER LIKE PEAS & GUAC,” read one sign in November 2015 normally used for Amber Alerts and traffic information. After that came Star Wars references, “TRUST THE FORCE BUT ALWAYS BUCKLE UP.”

Adele, Pokémon and the movie Elf have each had their own sign, as well as a sign for each holiday.

Now, a little more than a year later, ADOT has enjoyed a growing social media presence and is wrapping up its first “safety message contest.” The contest, which received more than 6,700 submissions according to ADOT, was narrowed down to 20 finalists. Voters spent first two weeks of March deciding which two would flash overhead in April.

Doug Pacey (pictured), a spokesperson for ADOT, said the department’s social media presence has grown considerably as of late. This increase in social media notoriety is, in part, thanks to the safety message signs, Pacey said. ADOT now has over 165,000 Twitter followers, an increase from 56,000 just over two years ago. Its Facebook page boasts nearly 40,000 likers. Its Twitter has the second most followers of any transportation department in the country, following Washington State. Pacey said the messages were a spin-off from Iowa’s Department of Transportation, which had been displaying quirky or funny messages for about a year.

The “peas and guac” message was a jab at a recipe from The New York Times that recommended people to add peas to their guacamole. The recipe was met with criticism from all corners of the internet.

“We kind of jumped in the pool with these safety messages, we didn’t dip our toe in with that one and it was really well received,” Pacey said. “It was popular, most people really enjoyed it and liked it and the important thing is it got people talking about drinking and driving.”

Pacey said the importance of the messages has been the conversation that it leads to regarding safe driving. A plain old message is white-noise, this grabs people’s attention according to Pacey.

Read the complete article at The State Press

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Swedish ad perfectly skewers self-driving hype – The Verge https://mobilitylab.org/2017/03/29/swedish-ad-perfectly-skewers-self-driving-hype/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/03/29/swedish-ad-perfectly-skewers-self-driving-hype/#respond Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:15:42 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21731 The hype and mystery surrounding the technology behind (and impact of) autonomous vehicles can reach a fever pitch all too easily. It’s likely that while AVs change some things, for many people the benefits can already be achieved through transit. One ad for a Swedish transit agency has produced an ad that elegantly makes this... Read more »

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The hype and mystery surrounding the technology behind (and impact of) autonomous vehicles can reach a fever pitch all too easily. It’s likely that while AVs change some things, for many people the benefits can already be achieved through transit. One ad for a Swedish transit agency has produced an ad that elegantly makes this point.

The ad is meant to drive home the point that many of the futuristic, lifesaving technologies the car companies have been hyping to consumers already exists in various modes of public transportation, like buses. Electrified propulsion? Check. Freedom from the shackles of driving? Check. The ultimate shared vehicle? Big check.

It also highlights a major weakness in the theory that self-driving cars will be the ultimate panacea for all our transportation woes: that an autonomous vehicle on the road is still just a vehicle on the road, whether it’s driven by a human or a computer algorithm, and that can only do so much to reduce traffic, pollution, and their associated costs.

Read the complete article at The Verge

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Would minor map changes encourage Metro riders to shift their commutes? https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/23/map-tweaks-dc-metro-riders-shift-commutes/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/23/map-tweaks-dc-metro-riders-shift-commutes/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:19:59 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21288 SafeTrack surges in the past months have highlighted one of of the D.C. Metrorail system’s largest demand crunches: the Rosslyn tunnel bottleneck, where the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines converge to head east into downtown. This capacity issue has been exacerbated by the 2014 Silver line opening, and more recently by the current Blue line shutdown... Read more »

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SafeTrack surges in the past months have highlighted one of of the D.C. Metrorail system’s largest demand crunches: the Rosslyn tunnel bottleneck, where the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines converge to head east into downtown. This capacity issue has been exacerbated by the 2014 Silver line opening, and more recently by the current Blue line shutdown surge.

Many commuters coming from the south prefer to take the Blue line downtown, as that route does not require a transfer at L’Enfant Square or Metro Center, even if it less geographically direct. This can create crowding on less-frequent Blue line train cars.

To encourage people to choose the Yellow line as their path to downtown D.C., a New York University professor experimented with manipulating how the Yellow and Blue lines appear on the well-known Metrorail map. Speaking with Martine Powers of The Washington Post, Zhan Guo detailed how, in different maps, he shortened the Yellow line’s Potomac River crossing and lengthened the stretch of Blue that passes Arlington National Cemetery to see if these affected the choices of test-takers at a crowdsourcing website:

“Three different maps showed the Blue Line to be more out-of-the-way as it crossed the Rosslyn tunnel: that section of the route appeared more angular or boxy, but the line was the same length as in the original map. In those cases, the percent of people who opted to use the Yellow Line route increased by sizable amounts: from as little as 1.9 percent, to as much as 5.7 percent.

“In another map, he redrew the Yellow Line to be less angular, more of a straight shot between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations. That also had an effect, encouraging 2.6 percent more people to use the Yellow Line.”

Guo told the Post that even regular Washington, D.C., commuters (based on respondents’ zip codes) were more likely to switch to the Yellow line given map changes. Practically speaking, most regular commuters are less likely to reference a map on their way to work, but those Blue/Yellow tweaks might be effective for newer commuters and visitors.

One change from Guo’s experiment, which smoothed the Yellow line river crossing to make it appear more direct.

Even if the changes – some designed to be deliberately unattractive – are unlikely to be incorporated into a future version of the iconic Metrorail map, Guo’s results highlight the key role transportation information plays in guiding the deliberate choices people make in how they get to work. Small changes can lead commuters to more efficient paths that skirt congestion issues. Besides, who doesn’t like taking in a morning view of the Potomac as the Yellow line makes its way into the District?

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Ford’s Super Bowl ad captures where mobility is headed https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/06/fords-super-bowl-ad-captures-mobility-headed/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/06/fords-super-bowl-ad-captures-mobility-headed/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2017 21:44:12 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=20269 Besides a stunner of a Super Bowl between New England and Atlanta, there was a lot to like in between the snaps as well. Lady Gaga thrilled at halftime and cinematic TV commercials were unveiled left and right. But in Mobility Lab’s space, Ford Motor Company really took the cake as the top ad. It... Read more »

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Besides a stunner of a Super Bowl between New England and Atlanta, there was a lot to like in between the snaps as well. Lady Gaga thrilled at halftime and cinematic TV commercials were unveiled left and right.

But in Mobility Lab’s space, Ford Motor Company really took the cake as the top ad. It debuted a humorous and touching spot that beautifully explained to its 111 million or so viewers where the company is headed: ridesharing, electric vehicles, bikeshare, and driverless cars.

Check it out here:


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Record number of transit ballot measures will also impact transportation demand management https://mobilitylab.org/2016/11/04/record-transit-ballot-measures-impact-tdm/ https://mobilitylab.org/2016/11/04/record-transit-ballot-measures-impact-tdm/#respond Fri, 04 Nov 2016 17:32:03 +0000 http://mobilitylab.org/?p=19464 Election Day this upcoming Tuesday will be a crucial one for the future of public transportation in this country. This election sets records for the most transit measures ever in a single year (77), the highest number of states with measures on either state or local ballots (25), and the most money at stake on... Read more »

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Election Day this upcoming Tuesday will be a crucial one for the future of public transportation in this country.

This election sets records for the most transit measures ever in a single year (77), the highest number of states with measures on either state or local ballots (25), and the most money at stake on transit investments (nearly $200 billion).

“A solid majority of the measures on ballots [should] pass. There’s good cause for optimism next week,” predicted Jason Jordan of the Center for Transportation Excellence at a press conference on Wednesday.

While most of this funding is directed at strengthening transit infrastructure, it will all make transportation demand management a much easier sell as a tactic in getting people to understand and embrace transportation options.

Some of the interesting TDM elements have been at least minimally reported in the mainstream media. Here are some highlights from around the country:

Measure M in Los Angeles is truly one to watch on Election Day, as it would direct nearly $100 billion over 40 years to improving and expanding the region’s transit. Part of that would be used for expanding employer-based TDM programs, as well as other strategies that would incentivize transportation options like carsharing or carpooling. Joe Linton of Streetsblog California explains:

The Los Angeles County Shared Mobility Action Plan outlines a future for L.A. County … that could lead to 2 percent less driving, meaning roughly 100,000 fewer private cars on L.A. streets in five years. The plan lays out a series of recommendations, emphasizing expansion of shared mobility.

The vision is a compelling one: significant increases in transit ridership (34,000 new riders), bikeshare (10,000 new bikeshare bikes), carshare (8,400 new carshare vehicles) and carpooling/ride-splitting (16,800 new riders.) In order to achieve these increases, the plan prescribes relatively modestly increased funding for government agency programs: $16 million for carshare, $33-38 million for bikeshare, $4-6 million for augmenting ride-hail, and $6-10 million for mobility hubs.

Atlanta residents have been reeling in literal gridlock after a failed regional transportation-tax proposal for years ago. But this year, the city will vote on funds for MARTA that could go towards infill transit stations and bus improvements, and another initiative could fund own improvements to roads, rails, sidewalks, and bike trails. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Atlanta residents will be asked to raise the city’s sales tax by a half-penny to add more buses, light rail, and infill stations for MARTA. Atlanta’s sales tax is currently 8 percent.

In the days leading up to the vote, boosters plan a $750,000- to $1 million-media blitz to get the word out, higher than the more typical expenditure of around $500,000 for pat referendums. The effort will include commercials, online advertising, direct mail, and radio and TV appearances.

Supporters, which include bicycling advocates, the city’s business community, and groups such as the Council for Quality Growth have aided the mayor, MARTA, and others in speaking to NPUs, civic associations, and other interested parties.

A measure in Indianapolis will ask voters to raise their personal income tax in order to fund transportation improvements that would include a bus-system upgrade. An advocacy group called Transit Drives Indy has been out in full force to educate voters – a TDM tactic crucial to truly getting people to take advantage of the benefits of transportation options. And while Transit Drives Indy is a wide coalition of businesses and community organizations, the Indianapolis Star notes that the mayor, despite his pro-transit leanings in the past, has refused to step in and play an advocacy role. Without vocal leaders participating and raising awareness, educating the public about transportation options faces an even rougher uphill battle.

There are plenty of efforts going into this election in which groups are attempting to educate the drive-alone-commuting public about major transit-infrastructure funding. This follows the common, but often-less-publicized, education part of TDM efforts. There’s Transit Drives Indy, and there are groups like Moving Wake County Forward in North Carolina and Move Broward Forward in Florida. As Move Broward Forward attempts to inform the public about the importance and benefits of a Complete Streets plan, among other initiatives up for vote, it seems there has been little news coverage of the group’s work.

Pro-ballot-measure campaigns like these raise the visibility of the outreach and communications aspect that is an essential piece of transportation demand management programs: before anyone can support (or use) transit improvements, they must first understand what it means for their community.

When plenty of these initiatives kick in on November 9, there will be no better time to start doing a better job at educating people on ways they can start spreading out some of their car trips to transit, bicycling, walking, carsharing, and teleworking.

More information on all the transit initiatives can be found at CFTE’s newsletter explainer and Eno’s expansive database of referenda.

Image: Riders on LA Metro’s Gold Line light rail, which could benefit from Measure M (Omar Barcena, Flickr, Creative Commons).

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Benefits of reliable transit: How transit agencies and planners should be talking about BRT https://mobilitylab.org/2016/10/12/benefits-of-reliable-transit-talk-about-brt/ https://mobilitylab.org/2016/10/12/benefits-of-reliable-transit-talk-about-brt/#comments Wed, 12 Oct 2016 16:07:11 +0000 http://mobilitylab.org/?p=19200 Bus Rapid Transit systems are beginning to pop up as quickly as fast-casual restaurants in the greater Washington region. Everywhere you look BRT systems are coming online – Fairfax, Arlington and Montgomery counties, and the City of Alexandria. And why shouldn’t D.C. be joining the ranks of New York, Chicago, and Barcelona? The region consistently ranks as... Read more »

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Bus Rapid Transit systems are beginning to pop up as quickly as fast-casual restaurants in the greater Washington region. Everywhere you look BRT systems are coming online – Fairfax, Arlington and Montgomery counties, and the City of Alexandria.

And why shouldn’t D.C. be joining the ranks of New York, Chicago, and Barcelona? The region consistently ranks as one of the worst in terms of traffic congestion, so providing new options for travelers makes sense. Metroway, for example, is the region’s first BRT, providing a quicker trip between the Braddock Road Metro station and Crystal City.

But as a transportation planner who has worked on BRT-style systems in the greater Washington region, I’ve noticed a disconnect in the public’s expectations versus the reality of the systems they’re getting. It got me wondering: do people have an accurate picture of what BRT means or the benefits the systems provide?

During public-planning sessions, I’ve heard a lot of feedback on BRT. The gist is, “That’s really nice that the bus is a different color and the station platform is fancy, but I just want it to be on time.” This opinion is supported by industry research. Our own experience conducting surveys at VHB shows travelers place a high priority on the reliability of a person’s trip.

What this feedback tells me is – as transit agencies and planners – we’re not effectively communicating the greatest benefit of BRT: these systems are highly reliable. They largely stay on schedule and show up at their stops consistently on time. This is accomplished through a combination of elements that make up the BRT package: transit-only lanes, off-board fare collection, near-level station platforms, greater stop spacing, and improved operations management.

Why does the message of reliability get lost? In the United States, “BRT” systems don’t always include the full-spectrum of system attributes, making it hard to compare “BRT” systems from one to the next and adding to the public confusion about what BRT is.

Another issue is that media coverage often gives an incomplete summary of BRT. While the media, transit agencies, and planners often focus on the flashiest individual elements that each system provides, the biggest benefit – reliability – gets lost in the details.

By shifting the focus to reliability as the main benefit of BRT, we can better manage expectations effectively. Right now, people enter the discussion thinking they’re getting the Ferrari of the public-transit world – sleek, fast, and shiny. Yet they would leave better educated if they understood they’re really receiving a Toyota Camry – reliable, steady, and sensible.

“But the bus has an image problem!” you might say. “People want sleek, shiny and fast!” you might add. The reality is that no amount of swoopy bus design and new branding is going to convince people, particularly those with other options, that BRT is a more reliable option than a regular bus or a car.

Real-time transit information at BRT stations can make the process of taking the system more reliable and predictable.

Real-time transit information at BRT stations can make the process of taking the system more reliable and predictable.

So how do we effectively communicate BRT while managing expectations? We start the conversation with the public and media by talking about how the improvements we’re proposing will result in reliability, and then show it. Perhaps we don’t even use the term BRT.

For example, instead of talking about the BRT element of off-board fare collection in terms that describe it as a new or improved technology, we should explain that paying the fare at the platform allows people to quickly board the bus without having to dig through their bags for a smartcard. And while each of these transactions only saves seconds per person, added together those seconds can save minutes for a single trip and hours in platform time over the course of a day.

The message of reliability goes beyond the features that set BRT apart from traditional bus service. It’s in the delivery of the service, too. If a delay in construction, for instance, means the beginning of the service will not be fully functional, we need to clearly explain that to the public. The trust customers place in their transit service can easily be lost if the service doesn’t deliver. Rebuilding that trust takes a long time, and can impact public support for other similar projects.

So, to actively promote new transit options, we must start the conversation with reliability and then support our statement with all the fun, flashy new BRT elements that will achieve this goal. We also have to keep communication about reliability in mind when confronted with impacts to the project or schedule. Only then will the public see the systems with realistic – and positive – expectations.

Photo: Top, riders board the Metroway BRT line in Crystal City, Virginia (BeyondDC, Flickr, Creative Commons). Middle, An arrival-time screen along the Orange Line BRT in Los Angeles (Matt Johnson, Flickr, Creative Commons).

The post Benefits of reliable transit: How transit agencies and planners should be talking about BRT appeared first on Mobility Lab.

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