A crowdsourcing campaign to support the generation of innovative ideas from different groups of individuals for the improvement of public transport.
The majority of the urban population is influenced significantly by the presence of public transport modes, their quality and level of service. Thus, any change in Public Transport (PT) is a matter of interest for the public opinion, dialogue and debates that crowdsourcing includes.
In the frame of CIPTEC project, an attempt to generate ideas from the citizens towards this improvement of Public Transport was made through the project’s crowdsourcing campaigns. A special crowdsourcing platform was developed for this scope, being adapted for each distinct local campaign. In the case of Thessaloniki, where buses are the only available public transport mode, every user and non-user of PT, resident or visitor of Thessaloniki, was encouraged to share an innovative idea on PT, comment and/or vote other ideas submitted. The 20 top ranked ideas resulted by the users’ evaluation were assessed by an experts’ (judging) committee.
Some attractive gifts were provided as small incentives to encourage citizens to participate. A tablet and 3 unlimited bus travel cards were sponsored. Numerous dissemination activities, both online and offline, were planned and ran throughout the whole duration of the action, aiming to reach as much users and gather as many ideas as possible. A short mnemonic slogan was created in order to make the campaign easily recognizable within Thessaloniki.
Main stakeholders were the citizens (whole society) and the PT operator.
The action is a rather inexpensive practice but usually requires some human sources. Web developer and people responsible for the set up and the important task of dissemination of the campaign were required.
Evidence of success
More than 160 ideas were submitted while more than 6,400 people have visited the crowdsourcing platform submitting their idea, commenting and/or evaluating the ideas of others.
Data: 43971 Page views, 6449 visitors, 875 registered users, 164 ideas, 109 comments, 1874 votes.
TSRG/AUTh received the OIKOPOLIS 2017 award on the theme “environmental awareness campaign” for the CIPTEC crowdsourcing action in Thessaloniki. OIKOPOLIS awards is an annual contest run by the pro-environment NGO ECOCITY.
Some users created fake accounts in order to vote their ideas more than once and place them higher on the list. This problem was mitigated by establishing an experts’ committee to evaluate the 20 top ranked ideas that resulted from the users’ rating (evaluation).
Potential for learning or transfer
By definition, crowdsourcing is a crowd engagement process. It can enhance the cooperation and communication of citizens with each other in order to achieve the common goal of improving public transport. In addition, the feedback received by the crowd can enable local stakeholders to identify the opportunities and weaknesses of some potential concepts/improvements submitted, as well as the potential reaction of the market to potential future interventions.
Crowdsourcing initiatives can mobilize residents to participate and think of solutions, engage citizens to the design-making process for PT, enable PT players to improve their brand/corporate image and implement solutions that are already approved by the users.
Such crowdsourcing actions have already been applied to other fields as well: a. “ImproveMyCampus” ran internally by AUTh and b. within some municipal entities ran by public authorities in a form of an app to state the problems identified and achieve better governance.