At Interactions, we’re a patriotic bunch! We like to do our bit to keep the ‘Irish Show On The Road’. So whilst our football manager Trapattoni and the rest of the team plan tactics, we’ve been busy improving the mobility network in Gdansk so the green army can easily get to and from football stadiums to see Trap’s Squad at EURO 2012 deliver.
As communications manager for the EC sustainable transport programme, CIVITAS Interactions has been assisting Gdansk City Council & their local public transport (PT) operators increase sustainable transport behaviour. http://www.civitas-mimosa.eu/main. Over the last 3 years, we’ve been juggling a number of balls in the air; advising on customer mobility surveys, translating results into marketing solutions and providing training workshops on quality standards in public transport.
As we enter our 4th year, ‘Mobility Marketing in Gdansk’ is no longer a simple one way information promotion exercise. Gdansk transport decision-makers now look upon behaviour change as the key link to successful urban planning, public-engagement, business development and technology – requiring credible market feedback, communications and quality of service.
The Mid-Fielders: Survey Work
Right from the start, Gdansk was focused on promoting a particular tram line under the EU CIVITAS programme. With guidance from Interactions, Gdansk carried out a survey targeting citizens on their travel needs, general attitudes and abilities to change. With young citizens aged 20-35 years making up a large part of potential private car buyers/users and commuters in this area, social media was the chosen method of communicating on measure formation and create a spontaneous young PT users’ transport community. The successful 1200 response rate to the online survey confirmed the correct approach chosen. Interestingly enough, survey results also illustrated the need for rethinking the overall measure of tram promotion and redirecting project activities from promotion to the diagnosis of problems based on passenger’s dissatisfaction with the tram service itself. It has also convinced both political and economic decision makers on the need for further investment on the tram service itself.
Upping The Game: Training & Stakeholders Workshop
As a result, the MIMOSA mobility team at Gdansk Council put on hold a number of planned promotional one way communication activities. Instead, in October 2011 the Council hosted the ground breaking PT Quality Image Training Day for PT providers, PT management and NGO’s. With an expert in PT quality from Dublin Bus and Behaviour Change Expert Eileen O’Connell, Interactions used the Dublin experience to show Gdansk how to improve PT quality whilst also inspiring, original, well thought out and tested solutions. A follow-up consultation workshop, this time with citizens and other key stakeholders, was organized in Spring 2012 on the future of Quality, Image and Management of PT Transport in Gdansk.
The Future! Quality Impact & Communications Breakthrough = Happy Customers!
Gdansk will now carry out further diagnostic surveys in May 2012 dealing with problems of overcrowding on the tram to sharpen its own structural and marketing strategy. With the focus firmly on Quality, any promotional activities carried out will focus on Council efforts in this area. Final preparations are underway for ‘The City Game’, a communications campaign showing the tramway’s investments in Gdansk. CIVITAS has and will still actively participate in other local and regional events related to the tram line. A big family picnic advertising the new tram line in the district of Chelm is also planned for May.
So Now to the Important Question! Will our work at Interactions actually smooth out that ‘Rocky Road to Poland’?
The reality is, by terms of our virtual size, we as a nation may not be odds on favourite to win. But as we all know, it’s not all about Quantity – It’s The Quality of Journey That Counts! There is no doubt that with a little bit of Irish initiative, a focus on quality & research, better management of Gdansk’s transport resources, Interactions will make many an Irish person’s journey to Gdansk a lot happier. That’s our game – Happy Customers! So if you’re reading this, Trapattoni & crew, FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS & ‘Give Us That Happy Journey Ireland Needs’.
By Helen Mullarkey