Jun 12, 2015

Experience pays in quick campaign

Burgos deploys tried and true mobility agents to reach its target

The SmartMove active mobility consultancy (AMC) campaign in Burgos, Spain wrapped up this spring, concluding mobility interviews with 500 residents in a month’s time.

The Burgos campaign launched April 20 with the aim of finishing work before local elections at the end of May. It targeted two separate populations in a residential area on the city’s outskirts: students of the University of Burgos and workers with jobs in a distant industrial estate.

The campaign organizers predicted that the students would be the more approachable and amenable of the two target groups. In fact, this was the case, although neither group was easy. The campaigners started by sending out 800 email invitations to participate and then followed up with phone calls. In order to book 250 personal visits with students, 301 phone calls were needed. To book the same number of workers, another 347 calls were made.

Interestingly, most of the visited residents claimed to never having received the initial email, which had an attached letter from a local city councilor. Project implementers theorise that these emails were rather ignored or overlooked.

In arranging the visits, workers preferred that campaigners come to their homes during evening hours, while many students preferred meeting at the University. In general, it was easier to contact and to make interview appointments with students, as they had more time and flexibility.

It’s too early to discuss campaign impact, as the evaluation has not yet started. However, feedback concerning the quality of the mobility advice given and the materials handed out (bus timetables, maps, etc.) was very good.

José María Diez, who’s coordinating the project in Burgos, said that although the SmartMove methodology is time-intensive and quite costly, it gives good value. Mobility agents could ask detailed travel information of participants and could respond with tailored advice and materials.

Effective, personalized consultation requires capable, knowledgeable mobility agents. Burgos was fortunate to have a number of PhD students who had done similar work in a previous EC-funded mobility project, Diez noted.

The hardest part was contacting so many people and fixing the 500 visits – not to mention making visits. But in Burgos, due to the experience of the agents and because many of the project participants had taken part in similar projects, the work went rather quickly.