Uses of Social Media in Public Transportation


Susan Bregman

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, technology - passenger information


Allentown (Pennsylvania), Canada, Case studies, Dallas (Texas), Literature reviews, Morgantown (West Virginia), New York (New York), Public transit, San Francisco (California), Social media, State of the practice, Surveys, Transit operating agencies, United States, Vancouver (Canada)


This synthesis explores the use of social media among transit agencies and documents successful practices in the United States and Canada. Social media are defined as a group of web-based applications that encourage users to interact with one another, such as blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare, and MySpace. Transit agencies have begun to adopt these networking tools to provide transit information as timely update, public service, citizen engagement, employee recognition, and entertainment. A review of the relevant literature was conducted. Because the field is new, there is not yet a large body of research available on social media. Relevant information was obtained from online sources, including blog posts, websites, conference presentations, online journals, and publications covering technology and governance. A selected survey of transportation providers in the United States and Canada known to use one or more social media platforms, and located in large metro, small urban, and rural areas, yielded a 90% response rate (34 of 39). Six transit providers participated in telephone interviews, highlighting more in-depth and additional details on successful practices, challenges, and lessons learned. These included providers in San Francisco, California; Dallas, Texas; Allentown, Pennsylvania; New York, New York; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Vancouver, British Columbia.


Permission to publish the abstract and link to the report has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.