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How to Increase Transit Participation With Custom Awareness Campaigns
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How to Increase Transit Participation With Custom Awareness Campaigns

Increasing participation in a transit commuter benefit is possible, but first you have to address a classic question: Does transit even work for my commute?

Ruth Miller
May 16, 2024

Companies offer transit benefits through providers like Jawnt for a variety of reasons, but generally, it’s because they actually want their employees to ride transit. Maybe they’re trying to manage too few parking spots, or want to save their employees money, or just really care about the health of their civic institutions. Whatever the reason, offering transit benefits is just the first step toward more sustainable transportation and greener commutes.

There’s no one-size-fits-all one-and-done solution for encouraging more transit ridership, but hundreds of organizations across the world have proven that listening to employees and providing thoughtful information does make a difference. 

Increasing participation in a transit commuter benefit is possible, but first you have to address a classic question: Does transit even work for my commute?

Does transit even work for me?

Train stations are usually quite conspicuous, and it’s hard to miss an elevated train platform. But bus stops are smaller and can be harder to spot. And even if you notice a bus passing by your work place, it’s not obvious where the bus came from or where it’s going next. Passive awareness of public transit doesn’t always lead towards active ridership.

Few among us take the time to idly explore our transit options before we know there’s a chance one will work for us. But once someone does decide to take transit, they have plenty of tools to help them plan their journey. This is why before people need help with trip planning, they may first need help with transit awareness.

To achieve transit awareness, your employees need answers to a few key questions.

  • Are there bus stops or train stations near my work place?
  • Which routes stop near my work place?
  • Where do these routes go?

Building awareness doesn’t require anticipating every specific question an individual might have about their own commute. The goal is simply to reassure them that transit is worth exploring further.

Location-based collateral

Nothing says “location” like a map! Check out these examples Jawnt produced recently for two Philadelphia-based clients (which we’ve anonymized in order to share). The client has multiple locations, and wanted to increase transit awareness in each location. Jawnt produced a map for each location showing the work place and nearby transit lines. 

The maps above were distributed to employees as an email attachment and printed for display in common areas. These digital and physical presentations gave employees multiple opportunities to see them and interact.

Key information to include

In addition to all the essential components of a map (key, legend), and the workplace location, we chose to include:

  • Route numbers and names, so viewers can look up more information on their own.
  • The locations of bus stops and train stations, so viewers know how far they’ll have to walk to catch a ride.
  • The path of travel for each route, so help make sense of where it goes.
  • Information on all public transit modes. Too often trains get all the attention, but buses complete the network. Philadelphia distinguishes trolleys as a separate mode, so we match that language here. If there were ferries in these areas, we’d certainly include those, too!
  • Parks and greenspace, to help orient the viewer to the neighborhood.
  • Names of major streets, also for orientation.

We didn’t include a scale, but generally chose to show about a 10-minute walking radius around the work location. In the future, we’ll explore adding additional travel information, like bike share stations and bike routes.

Next Steps

Looking to offer transit benefits employees will actually use? Reach out to our team to hear more about the Jawnt platform and how Jawnt helps increase transit participation. 

Ruth Miller

The Jawnt blog

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