Passenger Information: what’s your strategy?Paul Everson | May 20, 2015
Tags: Passenger info |
Commercial operators and local authorities understand that effective delivery of passenger information is a critical component of the modern public transport infrastructure. But in order to be effective, we first need to have a clear passenger information strategy.
Such a strategy will vary from organisation to organisation, but is typically driven by a small number of factors. The following are my thoughts on a few of the most important ones.
Who is the system for?
While it may seem obvious, one of the first steps is to identify who your passenger information system is targeting.
There are typically three audiences: the public, internal stakeholders and third parties.
It can be tempting to focus heavily on apps or websites for the public, but don’t forget about internal users such as call centre staff. It is important that the internal staff aren’t disadvantaged by a system which favours the public.
Third parties, meanwhile, are those who might receive your data as an API via an “open data” channel. Will they help you reach a wider audience than you can do alone?
Whoever your audience, your strategy should deliver consistency of information across all channels.
You will inevitably need a wide range of data to support your strategy. Are you clear which data sets you already own, and which you will have to procure?
Data needs to be maintained to ensure it remains current. How often will you need to update each piece of data, and do you understand - and control - the process for updating it?
Your site may contain additional, static content - usually held in a content management system (CMS). Is it clear who in your organisation is responsible for creating and maintining this content?
If you include social media feeds, you will need to operate outside of office hours to be able to respond to posts. Are your business processes ready to support this?
In the current climate of increasingly constrained budgets, it is essential that your strategy recognises financial realities.
Your Supplier should therefore be able to meet your aspirations and deliver your strategy cost-effectively. One way to confirm this is to check whether your supplier already has a portfolio of demonstrable, off-the-shelf modules that can be configured to suit your budgets and ambitions without costly development.
Long term commitment
We tend to focus on the delivey of the initial system, but your strategy (and pricing model) should reflect a commitment to updates over many years to ensure that the solution remains contemporary.
While there are many other factors, I hope this brief post can stimulate discussion and conversation – and help interested parties to make sure they develop effective passenger information strategies that deliver the results they need.
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