Mass Transit in a Mobilized World
Growing up in New York City, I knew that you never want to be caught with a paper map on the subway – you’re supposed to have that memorized by age 9. However, times have changed and mass transit is taking a step into the 21st century.
Most, if not all, of the major metropolitan areas of the country with mass transit systems are aware of the new generation of tech-savvy travelers of all ages in this new mobilized world. Transit authorities are budgeting time and money toward a real mobile strategy that serves as both an operations and marketing tool. Commuters and visitors demand for information to be available on their mobile device.
Most recently I used the trip planner on the Minneapolis’ Metro Transit mobile website. As a visitor to that city, it made my travel around town easier to navigate and I was on time for all of my meetings. Some transit authorities are even adopting mobile payments to better facilitate the transaction needs of passengers not carrying cash.
SMS marketing and mobile websites are the most common ways transit systems are using mobile tools to improve the travel experience, and there is a growing number of transit authorities developing mobile apps. These apps allow for a deeper experience with interactive maps, mobile payments, a stop locator, up to the minute service alerts, and travel/arrival times.
As transit systems continue to adopt mobile strategy into their operational and marketing plans, I believe we will see significant growth in ridership. It is incredible to see how quickly people will adopt mass transit when you make it simple for them.