Active measures are a good way for a transport operator to prime its target audience in advance of an individualised marketing campaign. By offering attractive workshops and other activities, the transport company is not only able to achieve direct impacts on public transport ridership, but can also recruit participants in planned promotions.
At an October training in Wittenberg, Germany, Roman Klementschitz of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences of Vienna, Institute for Transport Studies, explained the key role of active measures in individualised marketing campaigns. Active measures include activities in which a transport operator engages with customers online or face to face.
Active measures can take the form of citizen audits or workshops, in which the operator explains the public transport offer and any new elements. The general aim of both audits and workshops is the same, the latter being more participatory and interactive. In both cases, participants are invited to give feedback, and operators must take care not to respond to complaints by promising more than can be delivered.
General active measures might also be focus groups dealing with services for specific categories of users, such as students or elderly people. These can include outreach activities using social media or smartphone apps, travel games involving walking or cycling, the distribution of guidebooks, the offer of personal mobility assistants for elderly travellers, or the delivery of transport-related welcome packs to new residents.
In the SmartMove project, audits will be the most widely used active measure, with all eight implementing regions planning one. Other types of general active measures are planned in only two or three regions.
Operators can also try measures involving free rides or services. An operator might hold training events or special bus runs for elderly people, for example. It might offer tryouts on local on-demand buses, provide personalised consultancy on public transport, or offer sessions explaining the company’s information and communications services.
Where the transport operator offers free services, it’s important that something is asked in return, such as customer feedback in the form of a completed questionnaire.
The SmartMove project also encourages active measures related to the active mobility modes cycling and walking. These are key elements of “feeder” systems by which customers access the main lines of rural public transport. Measures in this category might include guided walks and bike trips, hikes for physical exercise or try-out sessions with pedelecs and electric bikes.
In SmartMove, most types of active transport measures will be carried out in the implementing regions.