May 19, 2014

Active mobility consultancy

The SmartMove project aims to promote the use of rural public transport via this personalised travel marketing approach.

Active mobility consultancy (AMC) campaigns are a form of direct marketing in which citizens are directly approached in order to collect feedback about their public transport experience, and, if they do not use public transport, to inform them about the available travel options.

The  campaigns are "active" in terms of both directly approaching people, and in the sense that additional educational activities are organised.

In the active process of informing people about public transport, it is not passengers who have to search for information, but rather the public transport operators who inform their (potential) customers according to their individual needs. For this purpose, current and potential public transport passengers are provided with customised information in order to help overcome subjective barriers to the use of rural public transport systems.

In addition to written information and personal interviews, active mobility consultancy campaigns include practical traveller trainings, public participation in planning, and guided tours of public transport feeder schemes. The campaigns are also an opportunity to collect first-hand information from passengers in order to adjust the public transport offer to passengers’ requirements.

The history of active mobility consultancy campaigns

The concept of AMC campaigns originates from the pre-election door-knock campaigns in the United States. These were later adapted to motivate consumers to change their behaviour: for example in relation to mobility, energy saving, water saving, recycling etc. When applied to changing mobility behaviour, the purpose is to strengthen relations with current customers and to attract new passengers. Due to the personalised nature of the campaigns, they are also an excellent means of collecting feedback from both groups in order to improve services.

Active mobility consultancy campaigns have been conducted so far mostly only in cities (e.g. Vienna, Linz, Salzburg and Mödling in Austria). The experience of AMC campaigns in urban settings has already demonstrated an increase of 15 to 25 percent in public transport use within the target groups. The SmartMove campaigns will be the first time that the concept has been applied in rural settings by a larger number of pilot regions. (Source: Reinhard Hössinger and David Wurz-Hermann, BOKU)