Blog post:

2016 Predictions in Passenger Information

Paul Everson | January 15, 2016

Tags: Passenger info |

Last year saw a number of fascinating developments in passenger information and, as we look to the year ahead, I wanted to make some further predictions about trends we can expect to see in 2016 – and highlight areas that industry professionals will want to keep an eye on…

Prediction #1: Building relationships with passengers will be key

I’ve pointed out previously that certain passenger information tools – such as social media – have the potential to be somewhat indiscriminate with who they send information to, at a time when passenger information must become ever more personal.

What users and passengers increasingly demand is a return on the emotional investment they make when seeking information: when they visit websites, use apps and allow organisations to track their data, they reasonably want to see some reward for doing so.

We can reward users by recognising this and joining together data from various sources – for example, smart cards, journey planning tools, apps, mobile ticketing, etc., - and using this to tailor the passenger information we provide so that it meets the unique demands of each individual user.

While this idea of pushing information to passengers, rather than pulling them toward information feeds, will gain traction over the coming twelve months, my advice to transport organisations would be: don’t wait!

Websites that are proactive in this area will be rewarded by users – as they will become the site of choice..

Prediction #2: Talking about the new combinations

While it can be expensive to procure new passenger information systems and hardware, it can be relatively cheap to add new modules to existing systems.

Indeed, if we start to look at combining the data we have to do new things and serve different purposes, it’s possible to advance new ways of providing passenger information in new and innovative ways.

For instance, we could use data that runs into ‘next stop’ passenger information feeds and use it to provide estimated journey times for passengers waiting to board a bus, as well as once they take their seats on board.

We could also examine ways of pushing data available to passengers waiting on the street to those actually travelling on buses – such as beaming disruption information to visual display units that are increasingly being used on vehicles. We could even explore the potential of beaming relevant information about next stops to buses – such as announcing the estimated time of arrival to key bus stops, including train stations and other transport hubs.

Using existing hardware tools, such as Trapeze’s Intelligent Data Router (IDR) units - a central hub that can host multiple data applications, such as ETM, vehicle tracking, and passenger Wi-Fi - can enable organisations to better use these new data combinations to provide more holistic information to passengers.

Prediction #3: One site fits all

We’ve previously pointed out how, when it comes to passengers, there’s no such thing as your ‘typical traveller’.  However, there are clearly general requirements that are made by users of passenger information systems.

These are often informed by some of the most common questions passengers will seek to answer:

  • Is there a service?
  • Where does it depart from?
  • When does it depart?
  • Where do I get off?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Can you sell me a ticket?
  • Can you keep me updated?

As things currently stand, passengers have to use various different online channels to find answers to each of these questions. This means they must go through to a journey planning page, and then jump back out of this to find service and schedule information on a different platform, then have to leave this page and find another where they can find out ticket information, and so on.

Clearly, this ‘siloed’ approach could be improved by integrating these services into a single site, which suits the requirements of all different passengers. But of course, such an approach has benefits for transport organisations, too.

Indeed, by ensuring you provide passengers with a critical mass of passenger information, tools and services on your site, organisations will attract passengers and quickly build a reputation as being a great resource – which will in turn increase passenger loyalty. And, as I’ve already mentioned, passenger loyalty = revenue!

Share this story

Paul Everson's photo

About Paul Everson

Paul Everson is Trapeze's Product Manager (Travel Information). He has been working in public transport for 18 years and joined Trapeze in 2008. Paul says: "My role within Trapeze is a mix of product and account management, which suits my interests and skillset. I find it exciting to be part of an industry that is constantly evolving".

Read more posts by: Paul Everson