Social Media for Public Initiatives: Managing Public Perception for Sustainable Transport

Sustainable transport initiatives have gained traction in recent years in developing cities. However, these types of initiatives often overlook what should be a key component in their planning – communication & management of public perception. The big question is: What will make people prefer public transport as a preferred mode of transport? For every social initiative/project the primary concern is consensus. Consensus is a function of public perception. Today, all of this happens much faster on social media.

Kapil Gupta, CEO, OMLogic attended the 5th Talking Transit workshop on Branding, Marketing and Communication of Public Transport, an initiative of the Bus Karo programme, held on 03rd and 04th February 2014, in Indore. The two-day workshop co-hosted by EMBARQ India and the Atal Indore City Transport Services Limited (AICTSL), looked at the strategies adopted for branding, marketing and communicating the public transport services. Local and international experts spoke on the subject, and the workshop focused on AICTSL’s experience of branding the BRT system (iBus).

Social Media for Public InitiativesHe spoke about sustainable transport in Delhi at the workshop by highlighting the platform Delhi In Motion: a community that talks specifically about sustainable transport covering topics such as para-transit, walkability, cyclability, public spaces, and place making. ‘Delhi Loves Buses’ is one such community that highlights the significance of buses in the city. Delhi for Women’s Safety is also a similar initiative that deals with safety of women in transit. Pedal on Delhi is a community to promote cycling among Delhiites. Delhi Says is another such page that talks about transport related issues, to bring about a sense of responsibility among the audience.

The communication to people about using public transport must be social in nature, humourous and action-based. The reason is to promote the use of sustainable transport and create high engagement and affinity around the same. The idea is to garner feedback and public opinion about current public transport scenario and build initial advocacy for public transport. It will help in having a closer look at peoples’ concerns & expectations regarding current state of public transit system, especially buses. Only this can create a behavioral shift amongst people from private modes of transport to public transport.

Written By: Ruchi Singh

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