Understanding your riders and what matters to them is key to running a successful operation. The largest and most diverse generation in American history are those born between 1982 and 2003, or the Millennial Generation. Several reports, including American Public Transportation Association’s research report, “Millennials & Mobility: Understanding the Millennial Mindset” uncovers the impact Millennials are having on society and the trends they are driving. What does all of this mean for public transportation? Read on to find out.
Key findings from APTA’s report show that Millennials choose their preferred mode of transportation based on costs and convenience. Communities that attract Millennials have multiple transportation options (public transit, biking, walking, or driving). Public transportation options are considered the best for digital socializing and among the most likely to connect riders with their communities. Public transit also allows Millennials to work as they travel, a benefit that needs to be fully leveraged by the industry because it provides a clear competitive advantage over other transportation options. Reasons and motivations behind transportation choices are just what you might expect:
In the next ten years, Millennials would like to see more predictable and reliable systems, real-time updates, Wi-Fi wherever they go, and a more user-friendly travel experience.
Understanding how Millennials make their mobility decisions and what matters to them will reveal opportunities for public transit agencies and providers to increase ridership and improve their operations. Providing your riders with technology that gives them real-time updates and the opportunity to pre-pay for fares or manage their accounts through mobile applications will make public transit a more desirable transportation option. With Smartcards and mobile ticketing apps for Smartphones, riders have the freedom to pay for fares however they wish and from their hand-held devices. This means quicker and more dependable faring options, giving riders better access to public transit. After implementing automatic fare collection, Charlottesville Area Transit has drastically improved their customer service, decreased fraud, and improved their ridership data. Read the full story here.
The research shows that Millennials want trust-worthy transportation options and more visibility through real-time updates. Passenger information systems provide riders with just that. Through Smartphone apps or digital signage at bus stops, predicted arrival times and other trip information can be displayed to riders. If riders know when their bus will arrive, they can plan their time accordingly, which allows for more control over their daily routine and reduced wait times. In addition to the rider benefits, investing in technologies such as real-time passenger information systems, scheduling and reporting software, and in-vehicle hardware allows agencies to increase ridership while reducing costs.