Understanding social media program usage in public transit agencies
Liu, Jenny H.
Elrahman, O.A. (Sam)
Ban, Xuegang (Jeff)
Reilly, Jack M.
- Publisher: Elsevier BV
International Journal of Transportation Science and Technology,
Communications | Public transit | TA1001-1280 | Technology | Performance measures | Social media | Transportation engineering
Social media has been gaining prominence in public transit agencies in their communication strategies and daily management. This study aims to better understand recent trends in social media usage in public transit agencies, to examine which agencies use what kind of social media programs for what purposes, and how they measure their programs. A survey was conducted of the top transit agencies in the nation, and results are examined through descriptive statistical analysis, correlation analysis and regression modeling. We found that while most agencies still lack clearly-defined goals and performance metrics to guide their social media development, many are increasing their social media capacity with more structural components. Public transit service usage and the level of transit service provision are the most significant determinants of agencies’ social media programming and resource investments. In contrast, the measurement of social media usage and outcomes is more significantly related to city attributes and demographic characteristics. We anticipate an increase in the usage of social media to convey transit related stories and livability benefits, such as environmental sensitivity or safety improvements, as these programs expand. Public transit agencies’ commitment to measuring social media outcomes underscores the future research need to develop best practices for measuring the impacts and performance of social media communications and investments.