Social Media in Disasters: TRB presentation


We’ve posted Sarah Kaufman’s presentation on “Social Media in Disaster Preparation, Response and Recovery” from the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting on Slideshare. View below:

We’ll have a report on the same topic coming out in the next couple of months; please let us know if you have experiences to share on this subject.
Photo: Leah Flax

Policy by the Numbers


NYU Rudin’s Sarah Kaufman has posted on Google’s Policy by the Numbers blog about social media and transportation, and the importance of saying you’re sorry. Check out the full post here, or read this excerpt below:

…a large portion of responsiveness is accountability. In our analysis, we found a major discrepancy in the use of “thanks” and “sorry” in the Twitter feeds of private transportation providers (specifically, American Airlines and JetBlue) versus public agencies. Specifically, the airlines apologized far more than public transportation providers for delays and cancellations: in the two months studied, American Airlines wrote “sorry” and its synonyms 3,949 times; PATH, 62 times; Metro-North, 39 times; NJ Transit, 25 times; and the others, three or fewer times. Similarly, while customer engagement dominated both airlines’ Twitter accounts (85% on average), demonstrating their need to be constantly responsive to and direct with customers, public transportation providers communicated less directly with their customers (34%). These patterns indicate a universal orientation toward customer service throughout the private companies, which must earn and maintain customer loyalty. However, public transportation providers, which often have a monopoly on customers, likely do not feel the same need to focus on them.

The entire social media report is available in Part 1 (Twitter use analysis) and Part 2 (Policy recommendations).

New Report: Transportation Social Media Policy Recommendations


We’ve just posted a new report, “How Social Media Moves New York, Part 2: Recommended Social Media Policy for Transportation Providers,” addressing necessary policies for transportation agencies looking to reach riders and drivers in the system.

View the abstract here, download the (pdf) report here, and read Part 1, “How Social Media Moves New York: Twitter Use by Transportation Providers in the New York Region,” here (pdf).

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

New Report: How Social Media Moves New York


We’re thrilled to release a new report, “How Social Media Moves New York,” focused on how social tools, particularly Twitter, are used for transportation in New York City. From the abstract:

The goals of social media in transportation are to inform (alert riders of a situation), motivate (to opt for an alternate route), and engage (amplify the message to their friends and neighbors). Ideally, these actions would occur within minutes of an incident.

This report analyzes the use of social media tools by the New York region’s major transportation providers. It is focused on the effectiveness of their Twitter feeds, which were chosen for their immediacy and simplicity in messaging, and provided a common denominator for comparison between the various transportation providers considered, both public and private. Based on this analysis, recommendations are outlined for improving social media outreach.

Download the full report here, and leave your comments below.

 

The Importance of Twitter to Transportation


NYU Rudin Center researcher Sarah M. Kaufman gives an early look at her forthcoming research on social media use and transportation today on Google’s Policy By The Numbers Blog. Here’s a snippet from the piece; read it in its entirety on the blog:

Social media tools, such as Twitter, allow transportation providers to  communicate directly with users: alert customers about  service changes, suggest alternative routes, and amplify the message to friends and neighbors. Ideally, these actions would occur within moments of a delay’ Twitter is superb platform, since it is free, fast and packed with dynamic features.

 

But our research at NYU’s Rudin Center indicates that transportation providers in the New York Metropolitan region have yet to use Twitter to its fullest potential. Our research, based on all tweets from May 1 to June 30, 2012, offers policy recommendations for using Twitter in a transportation setting.

 

How do you use social media for transportation? Let us know in the comments.

New publication: A guide to open transportation data


We’ve just released our newest publication, Getting Started with Open Data: A Guide for Transportation Agencies. Here’s what’s in store:

Getting Started with Open Data is a guide for transportation agencies that would like to release their schedule data and administrative records to the public, and need an introduction to the practice. This guide is intended to result in streamlined use of transportation services and promote a productive dialogue between agencies and their constituents. It is being released as a living document, intended for input from both transportation data owners and users, to result in the most complete open transportation data guide possible.

 View the full report here, and add your comments to the Google Doc here.

 

Super-commuters in the news: A Roundup


Our recent report on super-commuters has struck a chord across the country, making the news in a variety of places:

- Businessweek, Bloomberg, Toronto Globe & Mail and Atlantic Cities, among others, covered the growing trend of longer commutes.
- WNYC’s Transportation Nation featured a map of air commuters to New York City.
- USA Today discussed the number one super-commute corridor, between Tucson and Phoenix.
- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch featured a law professor who commutes weekly from Chicago to St. Louis.
- The Houston Chronicle saw the report as a call for more transportation options in the region.

This roundup is only some of the coverage shown here. What’s most telling is the broad reach of people affected by this growing trend, and how it affects local economies, commuters’ families, and the shrinking importance of in-office time.

 

Super-Commuters and the Market for Inter-City Transportation


By Carson Qing

Earlier this week, we examined the impact of the super-commuter’s emergence on transportation policies, using the example of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s study of a potential intercity rail line connecting Tucson and Phoenix, one of the most prominent super-commute corridors in the nation. But in recent years, the private sector has serviced a great number of these super-commutes.

While the Northeast Corridor is well-served by Amtrak, a fleet of discount bus companies (Megabus, Boltbus, Peter Pan, and several enterprising Chinatown bus operators) has provided an alternative for potential super-commuters between major cities, in response to the growing market for affordable intercity travel. Because super-commuters tend to be younger and are more likely to come from middle-income backgrounds, they may very well be responsible for the growing success of the intercity bus industry in the Northeast.

Private bus companies have played a significant role in shuttling thousands of super-commuters from Eastern Pennsylvania to Manhattan on a daily basis. Since 2002, the number of residents in the East Stroudsburg, PA metro area working in Manhattan has more than doubled, gobbling up affordable and spacious single-family homes in the eastern Poconos. The 75-mile, 2 hour, $60 round-trip commute to the Port Authority Bus Terminal has become a popular option of these hardy commuters, profiled in this 2008 New York Times article. Private bus operators such as Martz and Transbridge provide commuter services to Manhattan from as far west as Wilkes-Barre and Allentown, respectively. Even though no public infrastructure investments have been made to support development in the area, Eastern Pennsylvania is quickly becoming one of New York City’s newest exurbs as private commuter bus companies have made these daily super-commutes to Manhattan feasible.

Airlines have also facilitated super-commuting by adding greater flight capacity along these emerging corridors: in 2005, JetBlue added 10 flights per day from Boston-Logan to JFK Airport, a 14% increase in capacity, according to the New York Times. Since 2006, the number of residents from the Boston metropolitan area working in Manhattan has doubled. Southwest Airlines, whose entire business model is centered on short, 200-400 mile trips that have seen a significant growth in potential commuters over the past decade, may also make it possible to shuttle between the Texas Triangle cities once or twice weekly. Along the fastest growing super-commuting corridor in the nation (Dallas to Houston), Southwest runs a staggering 25 flights per day between the two cities. These examples show how the market has already responded to the demand for inter-city travel and contributed to the growing trend of super-commuting, while transportation policies are only starting to account for this emerging segment of the labor force.