How to attract more customers to public transit by using innovations that really correspond to customer needs’
In the European research project called CIPTEC, Collective Innovation for Public Transport in European Cities, we are researching innovations from inside and outside the public transit sector, that can be applied to public transit aiming to increase public transit ridership.
Up to now, we have researched the needs of both the supply and demand side of public transit. Furthermore, we identified trends that are relevant to the needs. We then identified over 200 innovations from the public transport industry, but also other transport (e.g. aviation) and non-transport organizations (e.g. healthcare). We ranked these innovations and selected the top 31 most promising innovations to attract more passengers to public transport at a limited cost for the operators and/or authorities. We had these innovations validated by external experts to ensure that we selected the most promising ones. After that, we organized co-creation workshops across Europe. We asked actual users of public transport (in addition to other stakeholders) to come up with innovative ideas to improve public transport. Furthermore, we organized an online co-creation platform (http://europe.ciptec.eu). People from different backgrounds were encouraged to share their innovative ideas and to score other people’s input to change public transit for the better. At present, our consortium, for a work package led by the University of Leuven, Belgium (KUL), is researching the possibilities of influencing people’s behavior regarding the use of public transit. Our final goal is having an online database or ‘toolbox’ available for whoever is in the position to improve the public transit system. People can find innovations there that will help decision makers boosting the quality of the public transit system and consequently increase ridership.
We concluded that numerous (selected) innovations are related to the selected innovation of Mobility as a Service (MaaS). In MaaS, customers are unburdened in their mobility needs. The whole journey from door to door is organized by a single organization (service) that offers multiple travel options using traditional public transit, but also public bikes, car share etc. Customers do not need to worry about the mode or payment as that is all being taken care of by the facilitating organization. Customers get to choose between different options varying in travel time, comfort and price.
MaaS is already being implemented in Finland (Whim), Sweden (Ubigo) but also in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In our project we found that Ubigo was successful in attracting more customers to public transit. Ubigo managed to decrease the use of cars in favor of public transit. It turned out that the biggest part of the trips was carried out by public transit. Consequently, public transit profited from Ubigo’s success. Therefore, when the public transit sector is open to and well-involved in the MaaS development, MaaS can be a real opportunity rather than a threat.