The fact that the PT sector has never really had a strong customer orientation has been an impediment to develop a deep understanding of the user of its services. With the exception of reduced mobility groups, the attempts to understand the emerging needs of most transport customer segments have been rather scarce and fast obsolete. CIPTEC will study the core public transport users, paying particular attention to segments that have been rather under-researched (e.g. non-PT users, tourist PT users) consolidating current knowledge on urban transport customers and intelligence on heterogeneous groups and the distinct needs.
The project then sets an even more ambitious aim: with the use of state-of-the-art preference analytics (Advanced Conjoint analysis – Hierarchical Bayes) we will for the first time measure the in-depth preferences of different PT user segments for the most promising innovative concepts relevant to PT growth. This will provide first seen evidence on which of these cut-edge integrated tools / concepts’ features (and feature levels) are most important (and which are not) and for which user group. This concrete intelligence will empower the tailoring and integration of these innovations based on what users actually prefer to the very detail – avoiding unnecessary development costs and increasing the acceptability and diffusion of these concepts.
With the use of CBC Latent Class estimation we will extend our findings by searching for and revealing hidden and completely unknown user groups based on the preferences for these innovative ideas – providing information of the finest detail on how these groups share preference for innovations. These insights will be invaluable for discovering new underserved segments and for matching them to promising innovations.
While much has been done to understand the determinants of change, very little, if any attention has been given to the actors primarily responsible to deal, foresee and respond to this change – the actors responsible to deliver PT service. Skimming through political literature one could get the impression that these actors are rather innovation-averse disconnected organizations which are more or less unwilling or unable to compete and therefore adjust to the changing environment – a more scholarly read would reveal a gap in what we know about EU PT providers.
CIPTEC is not at ease with this impression – we believe that similar to transport users, PT providers have different needs. Not all PT providers “behave” in similar ways nor do they face the same challenges – the current one size fits all approach seems to rather ignore the fine singularity of the EU PT provider ecosystem. CIPTEC sets to map this eco-system, survey and classify the needs of its actors and study how the dominant trends might be affecting these needs. Upon validation of these findings the project will utilize this information in fine-tuning and tailoring CIPTEC offerings based on these actual (not presumed) needs, capacities and practical aspects of the supply side.
CIPTEC will explore established economic incentives (e.g. fares, taxes and levies) and new incentives (both “honey and “vinegar measures”, gamification) to test their effectiveness in helping the adoption of public transport and the new innovations. With the use of experimental consumer research and behavioral economic methodology to conceptualize and analyze the incentives behind transport behavioral change, especially with regard to new innovative solutions we will move beyond mere preferences and attitudes – often poor predictors of behavior – and aim to alleviate the behavior change.
Following up on our lab experiments we will take the extra mile to test the effectiveness of the findings in the real world by translating the technique tested in the lab in real life settings. This will provide first hand evidence on the efficiency (and not just efficacy) of our results and test their robustness where it matters most – the actual field.
Our ambition though is bigger. Given the fact that we will produce novel insights about underserved segments and needs of both suppliers and users and taking into consideration the need for integrated solutions we will launch a collective intelligence framework to generate new innovative concepts and approaches. CIPTEC will practice what it preaches and will put co-creation into action: through a process model platform we will harness the power of crowd-sourcing to co-devise new ideas with the help of actual PT users. We will use co-creation workshops where people of large diversity will work together freely in improbable “skunk-work” settings (e.g. on an actual place of PT delivery like a train station) on more detailed conceptualization.
Even though this toolbox can be a promising tool in the right hands, we want to make sure that it would not be victim of PT stakeholder inertia. The easiest way to ensure this is to put it to the test and try to push it as close to practice as possible. We will work closely with PT providers to procure “model” innovation strategy plans aiming to take specific toolbox advice straight to local level operations and crash-test our toolbox acceptability and efficiency while co-producing practical examples for its usage.
Lastly but certainly not least, we want to ensure the reach of our results and their transferability to the actual urban roads where they are most needed. New concepts cannot be enforced but they can be supported by means of creating stakeholder engagement – a task easier said than done. The project will bring to the table all the usual suspects and will actively promote crosstalk and collaboration through many of its co-production activities. This has been tried before though with rather moderate success. CIPTEC will try something new: next to the typical transport players we will invite and work with an unexpected one – the social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurship for transport in the EU is still rather underdeveloped but its potential is amazing (as successful social enterprises in transport show e.g. blablacar.com). Social enterprises are natural agents of collaboration – they solve real life problems with minimal means while producing jobs and taxes for the state (as they are typically for-profit). Social entrepreneurs are not miracle workers; they rely on concrete research insights and solid technology in order to source and spark civic engagement. CIPTEC will provide these tools to them and will ensure they are involved in our activities throughout the value chain as to build the necessary bridges for bringing fused operational concepts closer to realization together with what we believe should be a natural ally – the PT sector.