Spectrum of Public Transit Riders: Consideration of Messaging

Ok, I’m pretty excited about this.

This past week, as I listened to speakers at the Centrum Unijnych Projektów Transportowych, I began to think about the ‘spectrum of public transit ridership’ and how messaging can (should) cater to different types of riders (and non-riders).

I’m well aware that such a categorization system is NOT novel and has been done easily thousands of times in different languages by different researchers and institutions all over the world.

But I want to take a moment and play around in my own mind 1st and tinker with my own classification system before diving into all that is out there.

I think about media a lot and messaging that connects with the public and so my tinkering with this classification system is largely also about thinking of message crafting that has each group (or sometimes mixed groups) in mind.

When I shared about this categorization system with my husband (who is definitely NOT a 5 but displays an interesting mix between 4 and 2), he even got in on the action, brainstorming with me how to categorize and differentiate between 4 and 3.

At the conference this past week on transit exclusion, there was a workshop revolving around the question of car dependence. One participant asked how to sway the minds of those who are staunchly car-dependent (in my schema, the 1’s). There seemed to be collective agreement that this is a profound challenge. One moderator asked ‘Can you give up the car for collective benefit?’. A panelist noted that advertisements often show cars whizzing around scenic mountain roads ´but the reality is that you’re often in a traffic jam.

For me, I know from daily experience that talking with 1’s and 2’s about public transit is a radically different communication experience than communicating with 4’s and 5’s. I want my media and messaging to be able to adapt – morph to the be able to respond to the mindsets, biases, stigmas, attachments, lifestyles & passions of the category I am communicating with- if in a group setting, probably mixed categories.

I’m going to create a little video describing how I view each one.

Guess which one I am?

Which one are you?

Graphic shows categorization of Public Transit Riders as:

  • 5: Passion Riders
  • 4: Common-sense Riders
  • 3: Default Riders
  • 2: Skeptics
  • 1: Non-Riders