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Project Dates
01/15/2012 - 06/30/2013
Principal Investigators
Project Status

This research has investigated the interactions of social media and transportation in the New York City Region, conducted both by public agencies and private companies. Transportation providers must disseminate often urgent messages about delays or incidents, and in light of the explosion of social media throughout public and private industries (approximately 800 million people are on Facebook#), it is essential that they seek out their audience where it is, rather than the converse. In 2011, the top three searches on Google in New York City were “MTA,” “NJ Transit,” and “Hopstop,” respectively, indicating that, most likely, the information people need is not reaching them where they are.# As such, travel information is limited, resulting in confusion, bottleneck, and overall stunting of potential area economic and social activity. This research evaluated the social media use, responsiveness and innovativeness of the New York City Region’s transportation providers, both public and private, including:

  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • NYC Department of Transportation
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey NYC
  • Taxi and Limousine Commission NY State Department of Transportation NJ Transit
  • JetBlue Airways
  • American Airlines

Research was conducted through analysis of social media output and interaction over a specified number of months, workshops and literature reviews. Through assessment of current social media practices, consideration of barriers to use, and investigation of best practices in other cities and regions, this report culminates in proposed policies and recommendations for New York City-area transportation agencies in using social media, including:

  • best channels for communication with local residents
  • optimal tone, iming and levels of engagement
  • recommendations for overcoming barriers to use
  • incorporating feedback into services
  • community building tools