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TCRP TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM SYNTHESIS 99 Sponsored by Uses of Social Media in the Federal Public Transportation Transit Administration A Synthesis of Transit Practice

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TCRP OVERSIGHT AND PROJECT TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD 2012 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE* SELECTION COMMITTEE* CHAIR OFFICERS KEITH PARKER Chair: Sandra Rosenbloom, Professor of Planning, University of Arizona, Tucson VIA Metropolitan Transit Vice Chair: Deborah H. Butler, Executive Vice President, Planning, and CIO, Norfolk Southern Corporation, Norfolk, VA MEMBERS Executive Director: Robert E. Skinner, Jr., Transportation Research Board JOHN BARTOSIEWICZ McDonald Transit Associates MEMBERS MICHAEL BLAYLOCK J. BARRY BARKER, Executive Director, Transit Authority of River City, Louisville, KY Jacksonville Transportation Authority WILLIAM A.V. CLARK, Professor of Geography and Professor of Statistics, Department of Geography, RAUL BRAVO University of California, Los Angeles Raul V. Bravo & Associates EUGENE A. CONTI, JR., Secretary of Transportation, North Carolina DOT, Raleigh TERRY GARCIA CREWS JAMES M. CRITES, Executive Vice President of Operations, Dallas-Fort Worth International Metro Cincinnati Airport, TX CAROLYN FLOWERS PAULA J. C. HAMMOND, Secretary, Washington State DOT, Olympia Charlotte Area Transit System MICHAEL W. HANCOCK, Secretary, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Frankfort ANGELA IANNUZZIELLO CHRIS T. HENDRICKSON, Duquesne Light Professor of Engineering, Carnegie-Mellon University, Genivar Consultants Pittsburgh, PA JOHN INGLISH ADIB K. KANAFANI, Professor of the Graduate School, University of California, Berkeley Utah Transit Authority GARY P. LAGRANGE, President and CEO, Port of New Orleans, LA PAUL JABLONSKI MICHAEL P. LEWIS, Director, Rhode Island DOT, Providence San Diego Metropolitan Transit System SUSAN MARTINOVICH, Director, Nevada DOT, Carson City SHERRY LITTLE JOAN McDONALD, Commissioner, New York State DOT, Albany Spartan Solutions LLC MICHAEL R. MORRIS, Director of Transportation, North Central Texas Council of Governments, Arlington JONATHAN H. McDONALD TRACY L. ROSSER, Vice President, Regional General Manager, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., HNTB Corporation Mandeville, LA GARY W. McNEIL HENRY G. (GERRY) SCHWARTZ, JR., Chairman (retired), Jacobs/Sverdrup Civil, Inc., St. Louis, MO GO Transit BEVERLY A. SCOTT, General Manager and CEO, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, BRADFORD MILLER Atlanta, GA Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority DAVID SELTZER, Principal, Mercator Advisors LLC, Philadelphia, PA FRANK OTERO KUMARES C. SINHA, Olson Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, PACO Technologies West Lafayette, IN PETER ROGOFF THOMAS K. SOREL, Commissioner, Minnesota DOT, St. Paul FTA DANIEL SPERLING, Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Policy; Director, Institute JEFFREY ROSENBERG of Transportation Studies; and Acting Director, Energy Efficiency Center, University of California, Davis Amalgamated Transit Union KIRK T. STEUDLE, Director, Michigan DOT, Lansing RICHARD SARLES DOUGLAS W. STOTLAR, President and CEO, Con-Way, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority C. MICHAEL WALTON, Ernest H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering, University of MICHAEL SCANLON Texas, Austin San Mateo County Transit District JAMES STEM EX OFFICIO MEMBERS United Transportation Union GARY THOMAS REBECCA M. BREWSTER, President and COO, American Transportation Research Institute, Dallas Area Rapid Transit Smyrna, GA FRANK TOBEY ANNE S. FERRO, Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, U.S.DOT First Transit LEROY GISHI, Chief, Division of Transportation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the MATTHEW O. TUCKER Interior, Washington, DC North County Transit District JOHN T. GRAY II, Senior Vice President, Policy and Economics, Association of American Railroads, PHILLIP WASHINGTON Washington, DC Denver Regional Transit District JOHN C. HORSLEY, Executive Director, American Association of State Highway and ALICE WIGGINS-TOLBERT Transportation Officials, Washington, DC Parsons Brinckerhoff MICHAEL P. HUERTA, Acting Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S.DOT DAVID T. MATSUDA, Administrator, Maritime Administration, U.S.DOT EX OFFICIO MEMBERS MICHAEL P. MELANIPHY, President and CEO, American Public Transportation Association, MICHAEL P. MELANIPHY Washington, DC APTA VICTOR M. MENDEZ, Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, U.S.DOT ROBERT E. SKINNER, JR. TARA O'TOOLE, Under Secretary for Science and Technology, U.S. Department of Homeland TRB Security, Washington, DC JOHN C. HORSLEY ROBERT J. PAPP (Adm., U.S. Coast Guard), Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department AASHTO of Homeland Security, Washington, DC VICTOR MENDEZ CYNTHIA L. QUARTERMAN, Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety FHWA Administration, U.S.DOT PETER M. ROGOFF, Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, U.S.DOT TDC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DAVID L. STRICKLAND, Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S.DOT JOSEPH C. SZABO, Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration, U.S.DOT LOUIS SANDERS POLLY TROTTENBERG, Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, U.S.DOT APTA ROBERT L. VAN ANTWERP (Lt. Gen., U.S. Army), Chief of Engineers and Commanding SECRETARY General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC CHRISTOPHER W. JENKS BARRY R. WALLERSTEIN, Executive Officer, South Coast Air Quality Management District, TRB Diamond Bar, CA GREGORY D. WINFREE, Acting Administrator, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, U.S.DOT *Membership as of December 2011. *Membership as of March 2012.

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TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM TCRP SYNTHESIS 99 Uses of Social Media in Public Transportation A Synthesis of Transit Practice Consultant Susan Bregman Oak Square Resources, LLC Brighton, Massachusetts S ubscriber C ategories Data and Information Technology Public Transportation Society Research Sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in Cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2012 www.TRB.org

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TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM TCRPSYNTHESIS 99 The nation's growth and the need to meet mobility, environ Project J-7, Topic SB-20 mental, and energy objectives place demands on public transit ISSN 1073-4880 systems. Current systems, some of which are old and in need of ISBN 978-0-309-22357-7 upgrading, must expand service area, increase service frequency, Library of Congress Control Number 2012932147 and improve efficiency to serve these demands. Research is nec 2012 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. essary to solve operating problems, to adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and to introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Cooperative Research Pro COPYRIGHT INFORMATION gram (TCRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the transit industry can develop innovative near-term solutions to Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for meet demands placed on it. obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the The need for TCRP was originally identified in TRB Spe- copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce cial Report 213--Research for Public Transit: New Directions, material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. published in 1987 and based on a study sponsored by the Fed Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will eral Transit Admin istration (FTA). A report by the American Public be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FTA, or Transit Transportation Association (APTA), Transportation 2000, also Development Corporation endorsement of a particular product, method, or recognized the need for local, problem-solving research. TCRP, practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document modeled after the longstanding and successful National Coopera for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment tive Highway Research Program, undertakes research and other of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the technical activities in response to the needs of transit service provid material, request permission from CRP. ers. The scope of TCRP includes a variety of transit research fields including planning, service configuration, equipment, fa- cilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and ad- NOTICE ministrative practices. The project that is the subject of this report was a part of the Transit Co- TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. operative Research Program, conducted by the Transportation Research Proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was Board with the approval of the Governing Board of the National Research authorized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Effi Council. ciency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum The members of the technical panel selected to monitor this project and agreement outlining TCRP operating procedures was executed by to review this report were chosen for their special competencies and with the three cooperating organizations: FTA, the National Academy of regard for appropriate balance. The report was reviewed by the technical Sciences, acting through the Transportation Research Board panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the Gov (TRB); and the Transit Development Corporation, Inc. (TDC), a erning Board of the National Research Council. nonprofit educational and research organization established by The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those APTA. TDC is responsible for forming the independent govern of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those ing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and Project Selec of the Transportation Research Board, the National Research Council, or tion (TOPS) Committee. the program sponsors. Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodi cally but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the responsibility of the TOPS Committee to formulate the re- The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, the National search program by identifying the highest priority projects. As Research Council, and the sponsors of the Transit Cooperative Research part of the evaluation, the TOPS Committee defines funding Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers' levels and expected products. names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the Once selected, each project is assigned to an expert panel, ap- object of the report. pointed by TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests for proposals), select contractors, and provide technical guidance and counsel throughout the life of the project. The process for developing research problem statements and selecting research agencies has been used by TRB in managing cooperative re- search programs since 1962. As in other TRB activ ities, TCRP project panels serve voluntarily without com pensation. Because research cannot have the desired impact if products fail to reach the intended audience, special emphasis is placed on disseminating TCRP results to the intended end users of the re- Published reports of the search: transit agencies, service providers, and suppliers. TRB TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM provides a series of research reports, syntheses of transit practice, and other supporting material developed by TCRP research. are available from: APTA will arrange for workshops, training aids, field visits, and Transportation Research Board other activities to ensure that results are implemented by urban Business Office and rural transit industry practitioners. 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 The TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can coop eratively address common operational problems. The TCRP results and can be ordered through the Internet at http://www.national-academies.org/trb/bookstore support and complement other ongoing transit research and train ing programs. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished schol- ars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. On the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and techni- cal matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Acad- emy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achieve- ments of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Acad- emy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisci- plinary, and multimodal. The Board's varied activities annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transporta- tion, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. www.TRB.org www.national-academies.org

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TCRP COMMITTEE FOR PROJECT J-7 COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMS STAFF Christopher W. JENKS, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Chair CRAWFORD F. JENCKS, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Dwight A. Ferrell Programs Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA GWEN CHISHOLM SMITH, Senior Program Officer EILEEN P. DELANEY, Director of Publications Members Debra W. Alexander SYNTHESIS STUDIES STAFF Capital Area Transportation Authority, Lansing,MI STEPHEN R. GODWIN, Director for Studies and Special Programs Donna DeMartino JON M. WILLIAMS, Program Director, IDEA and Synthesis Studies San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Stockton, CA JO ALLEN GAUSE, Senior Program Officer Mark W. Fuhrmann GAIL R. STABA, Senior Program Officer Metro Transit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN DONNA L. VLASAK, Senior Program Officer Robert H. Irwin TANYA M. ZWAHLEN, Consultant Consultant, Calgary, AB, Canada DON TIPPMAN, Senior Editor JEANNE KRIEG CHERYL KEITH, Senior Program Assistant Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, Antioch, CA DEMISHA WILLIAMS, Senior Program Assistant Paul J. Larrousse DEBBIE IRVIN, Program Associate Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ David A. Lee Topic Panel Connecticut Transit, Hartford DEBRA W. ALEXANDER, Capital Area Transportation Authority, FranK T. martin Lansing, MI Atkins, Tallahassee JENNIFER JINADU-WRIGHT, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Bradford J. Miller Authority, Atlanta, GA Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, St. Petersburg, FL MARK MISTRETTA, Center for Urban Transportation Research, Hayward M. Seymore, III Tampa, FL Kitsap Transit, Bremerton, WA TIMOTHY MOORE, Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), FRANK TOBEY Oakland, CA First Transit, Inc., Moscow, TN MARK R. NORMAN, Transportation Research Board Pam Ward CAROL L. SCHWEIGER, TranSystems Corporation, Boston, MA Ottumwa Transit Authority, Ottumwa, IA JACQUELINE K. SHEADER, Centre Area Transportation Authority, State College, PA FTA Liaison MICHAEL WHITTEN, Manchester Transit Authority, lisa colbert Manchester, NH Federal Transit Administration ROBERT BUCKLEY, Federal Transit Administration, Atlanta, GA Michael Baltes (Liaison) Federal Transit Administration JOANNE WASZCZAK, Federal Transit Administration (Liaison) CHARLENE WILDER, Federal Transit Administration (Liaison) APTA LIAISON JULIA KIM, Easter Seals Project Action (Liaison) KEVIN DOW American Public Transportation Association TRB Liaison JENNIFER ROSALES Transportation Research Board Cover figure: Handy Icon Set. Used with permission from Web- designer Depot: http://www.webdesignerdepot.com.

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FOREWORD Transit administrators, engineers, and researchers often face problems for which infor mation already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and prac tice. This information may be fragmented, scattered, and unevaluated. As a consequence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solving or alleviat ing the problem. There is information on nearly every subject of concern to the transit industry. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day-to-day work. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evaluating such useful information and to make it available to the entire transit community, the Transit Coopera tive Research Program Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee authorized the Transportation Research Board to undertake a continuing study. This study, TCRP Project J-7, "Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Problems," searches out and synthesizes useful knowledge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. Reports from this endeavor constitute a TCRP report series, Synthesis of Transit Practice. This synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each report in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those measures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. PREFACE This synthesis explores the use of social media among transit agencies and documents By Donna L. Vlasak successful practices in the United States and Canada. Social media are defined as a group Senior Program Officer of web-based applications that encourage users to interact with one another, such as blogs, Transportation Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare, and MySpace. Transit agencies Research Board have begun to adopt these networking tools to provide transit information as timely update, public service, citizen engagement, employee recognition, and entertainment. A review of the relevant literature was conducted. Because the field is new, there is not yet a large body of research available on social media. Relevant information was obtained from online sources, including blog posts, websites, conference presentations, online jour nals, and publications covering technology and governance. A selected survey of transportation providers in the United States and Canada known to use one or more social media platforms, and located in large metro, small urban, and rural areas, yielded a 90% response rate (34 of 39). Six transit providers participated in telephone interviews, highlighting more in-depth and additional details on successful practices, chal lenges, and lessons learned. These included providers in San Francisco, California; Dallas, Texas; Allentown, Pennsylvania; New York, New York; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Susan Bregman, Oak Square Resources, LLC, Brighton, Massachusetts, collected and synthesized the information and wrote the report, under the guidance of a panel of experts in the subject area. The members of the topic panel are acknowledged on the preceding page. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records the practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. As progress in research and practice continues, new knowledge will be added to that now at hand.

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CONTENTS 1SUMMARY 5 CHAPTER ONEIntroduction Overview, 5 Synthesis Methodology, 5 Report Organization, 6 7 CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW: OVERVIEW OF SOCIAL MEDIA What are Social Media?, 7 Government Use of Social Media, 7 Why Use Social Media?, 8 Characteristics of Social Media Users, 10 Social Media Metrics, 12 14 CHAPTER THREE SURVEY: HOW TRANSIT AGENCIES USE SOCIAL MEDIA Introduction, 14 Social Media Applications, 14 Goals for Using Social Media, 14 Target Markets for Social Media Applications, 14 Effectiveness of Social Media, 14 Reaching Target Markets, 16 Content Management, 18 Coordination with Agency Programs, 18 20 CHAPTER FOUR BARRIERS TO USING SOCIAL MEDIA Introduction, 20 Common Barriers to Using Social Media, 20 Social Media Policies, 20 Resource Requirements, 21 Managing Employee Access to Social Media, 23 Handling Online Criticism, 24 Accessibility for People with Disabilities, 25 Security, 26 Records Retention, 27 Privacy, 27 Changing Social Media Landscape, 28 29 CHAPTER FIVE CASE EXAMPLES Introduction, 29 Bay Area Rapid Transit, 29 Dallas Area Rapid Transit, 30 Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, 31 Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 33 Mountain Line, 34 TransLink, 36

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39 Chapter SIXConclusions Overview of Social Media, 39 How Transit Agencies Use Social Media, 39 Barriers to Using Social Media, 40 Social Media Policies, 40 Resource Requirements, 40 Lessons Learned, 41 Areas for Future Study, 42 44 Glossary of Terms 45REFERENCES 48 APPENDIX A Survey Participants 49 APPENDIX B Survey Note: Many of the photographs, figures, and tables in this report have been converted from color to grayscale for printing. The electronic version of the report (posted on the Web at www.trb.org) retains the color versions.