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Use and Deployment of Mobile Device Technology for Real-Time Transit Information (2011)

Chapter: CHAPTER FIVE Contribution of Mobile Messaging to Agency Communications Strategy

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Page 35
Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER FIVE Contribution of Mobile Messaging to Agency Communications Strategy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. Use and Deployment of Mobile Device Technology for Real-Time Transit Information. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13323.
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Page 35
Page 36
Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER FIVE Contribution of Mobile Messaging to Agency Communications Strategy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. Use and Deployment of Mobile Device Technology for Real-Time Transit Information. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13323.
×
Page 36
Page 37
Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER FIVE Contribution of Mobile Messaging to Agency Communications Strategy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. Use and Deployment of Mobile Device Technology for Real-Time Transit Information. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13323.
×
Page 37
Page 38
Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER FIVE Contribution of Mobile Messaging to Agency Communications Strategy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. Use and Deployment of Mobile Device Technology for Real-Time Transit Information. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13323.
×
Page 38
Page 39
Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER FIVE Contribution of Mobile Messaging to Agency Communications Strategy." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. Use and Deployment of Mobile Device Technology for Real-Time Transit Information. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13323.
×
Page 39

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33 CHAPTER FIVE CONTRIBUTION OF MOBILE MESSAGING TO AGENCY COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY will be provided via other media (e.g., IVR, website, SMS). The implementation of information in more than one medium/channel will be completed using a phased approach for all MBTA station/stops (61). Further, a comprehensive customer information matrix developed as part of the strategy identified the various stages in a typical travel chain of an MBTA customer, type of infor- mation desired at each stage of travel, and the list of the dis- semination media/channels that the customer could use to obtain each type of real-time information when needed. The potential channels in the matrix include the Internet (includ- ing the mobile web), customer support services, IVR, SMS, and alerts (currently provided through e-mail). Thirteen of the 28 respondents stated that they consider providing real-time information on mobile devices as a way to attract “choice” riders. As a follow-up to this idea, the survey asked whether an increase in ridership resulted from the deployment of real-time information on mobile devices. Only four of the respondents claimed an increase in rider- ship, but no specific percentages were provided to back up these responses. Seven of the respondents developed a marketing cam- paign specifically about the use of mobile devices to obtain transit information. Selected marketing material available on the Internet from a variety of public transit agencies is shown in Figures 31 through 36. Agencies’ viewpoints regarding pursuing advertising revenue though mobile content varied. One agency stated that “advocate[s] exploiting such channels have no desire (or understanding) of commercial opportunities. The complex- ity of facilitating such approaches under Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) rules is also difficult and so easy often used as an excuse not to build and exploit such mechanisms.” Another agency stated that it is open to con- sidering ad-based revenue, but to date, it has not seen any successful applications. It would most likely never provide advertising space where it would not have control over the services being advertised. This is because the agency has concerns about certain services that might want to use its space. It would most likely try to arrange a partnership with one or two services that would use its ad space. One hypothesis considered as part of this synthesis was that providing mobile real-time information contributes to an agen- cy’s overall communications strategy. This is based on review- ing numerous agency customer information strategies, such as those prepared for the MBTA (61) and several agencies in the United Kingdom, and on discussing the subject with the case study interviewees (see chapter six for the case studies). In this section, the contribution of mobile real-time information is described in several ways. First, whether or not respondents have a communications strategy is mentioned, along with whether or not providing informa- tion on mobile devices is part of that strategy. Second, the responses regarding “information equity” are presented. Third, using mobile information to attract “choice” rid- ers is described. Fourth, whether or not the deployment of real-time transit information on mobile devices resulted in an increase in ridership is discussed. Finally, there is a discussion of the potential of generating revenue through real-time information on mobile devices. Twelve survey respondents stated that they have a com- munications strategy, and of those 12, eight stated that pro- viding real-time information by means of mobile devices is part of that strategy. This indicates the importance that many agencies place on the use of mobile devices as a way to dis- seminate customer information. Eight of the respondents said that they consider “informa- tion equity” when choosing specific media/channels for the dissemination of real-time information. Here, information equity means providing real-time information through at least two dissemination media in both audio and visual for- mats. For two of the four agencies that said that they did not consider information equity, the factors they used in choos- ing specific dissemination media/channels were the popu- larity of the media, the numbers used/sold, cost, demand, and political pressures. The MBTA’s customer information strategy specifically addresses the issue of information equity as follows: Real-time information will be provided for every station and stop via at least two dissemination media/ channels and shall be delivered using both visual and audio formats. Information available at the station/stop

34 FIGURE 32 BART SMS information. [Source: (63).] FIGURE 33 Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) mobile services. [Source: (64).] FIGURE 31 BART mobile wireless. [Source: (62).]

35 FIGURE 34. Quad Cities MetroLINK. [Source: (65).]

36 FIGURE 35 Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) mobile tools. FIGURE 36 Key West Transit mobile real-time information.

37 Other responses include the following: • It is currently against policy, but one agency stated that it is interested in this and is reviewing its policy. Three other agencies stated that they may explore this oppor- tunity in the future. • Three agencies said that they decided not to attach advertising to their messages. • One agency said that it no longer has such a policy.

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TRB's Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 91: Use and Deployment of Mobile Device Technology for Real-Time Transit Information examines the use and deployment of real-time transit information on mobile devices.

The report explores the underlying technology required to generate the information to be disseminated, the mobile technology used for dissemination, the characteristics of the information, the resources required to successfully deploy information on mobile devices, and the contribution of mobile messaging to an overall agency communications strategy, including "information equity."

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