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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, One hypothesis considered as part of this synthesis was that SMS). The implementation of information in more than providing mobile real-time information contributes to an agen- one medium/channel will be completed using a phased cy’s overall communications strategy. This is based on review- approach for all MBTA station/stops (61). 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 Further, a comprehensive customer information matrix study interviewees (see chapter six for the case studies). developed as part of the strategy identified the various stages in a typical travel chain of an MBTA customer, type of infor- In this section, the contribution of mobile real-time mation desired at each stage of travel, and the list of the dis- i nformation is described in several ways. First, whether semination media/channels that the customer could use to or not respondents have a communications strategy is obtain each type of real-time information when needed. The mentioned, along with whether or not providing informa- potential channels in the matrix include the Internet (includ- tion on mobile devices is part of that strategy. Second, the ing the mobile web), customer support services, IVR, SMS, responses regarding “information equity” are presented. and alerts (currently provided through e-mail). T hird, using mobile information to attract “choice” rid- ers is described. Fourth, whether or not the deployment Thirteen of the 28 respondents stated that they consider of real-time transit information on mobile devices resulted providing real-time information on mobile devices as a way i n an increase in ridership is discussed. Finally, there is a to attract “choice” riders. As a follow-up to this idea, the d iscussion of the potential of generating revenue through survey asked whether an increase in ridership resulted from real-time information on mobile devices. the deployment of real-time information on mobile devices. Only four of the respondents claimed an increase in rider- Twelve survey respondents stated that they have a com- ship, but no specific percentages were provided to back up munications strategy, and of those 12, eight stated that pro- these responses. viding real-time information by means of mobile devices is part of that strategy. This indicates the importance that many Seven of the respondents developed a marketing cam- agencies place on the use of mobile devices as a way to dis- paign specifically about the use of mobile devices to obtain seminate customer information. t ransit information. Selected marketing material available on the Internet from a variety of public transit agencies is Eight of the respondents said that they consider “informa- shown in Figures 31 through 36. tion equity” when choosing specific media/channels for the dissemination of real-time information. Here, information Agencies’ viewpoints regarding pursuing advertising equity means providing real-time information through at revenue though mobile content varied. One agency stated least two dissemination media in both audio and visual for- that “advocate[s] exploiting such channels have no desire (or mats. For two of the four agencies that said that they did not understanding) of commercial opportunities. The complex- consider information equity, the factors they used in choos- ity of facilitating such approaches under Official Journal of ing specific dissemination media/channels were the popu- the European Union (OJEU) rules is also difficult and so larity of the media, the numbers used/sold, cost, demand, easy often used as an excuse not to build and exploit such and political pressures. mechanisms.” Another agency stated that it is open to con- sidering ad-based revenue, but to date, it has not seen any The MBTA’s customer information strategy specifically successful applications. It would most likely never provide addresses the issue of information equity as follows: advertising space where it would not have control over the services being advertised. This is because the agency has Real-time information will be provided for every concerns about certain services that might want to use its station and stop via at least two dissemination media/ space. It would most likely try to arrange a partnership with channels and shall be delivered using both visual and one or two services that would use its ad space. audio formats. Information available at the station/stop
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34 FIGURE 31 BART mobile wireless. [Source : (62 ).] FIGURE 32 BART SMS information. [Source : (63 ).] FIGURE 33 Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) mobile services. [Source : (64 ).]
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35 FIGURE 34. Quad Cities MetroLINK. [Source : (65 ).]
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36 FIGURE 35 Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) mobile tools. FIGURE 36 Key West Transit mobile real-time information.
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37 Other responses include the following: • Three agencies said that they decided not to attach advertising to their messages. • It is currently against policy, but one agency stated that • One agency said that it no longer has such a policy. it is interested in this and is reviewing its policy. Three other agencies stated that they may explore this oppor- tunity in the future.