Context: nudges, from marketing campaigns to public transit
It’s a little push in the right direction. Theorized by Nobel Prize-winning economist Richard Thaler, the nudge has emerged as a major new concept and a gentle way to guide consumers towards more virtuous behaviors. Let’s take an example: the Besançon metropolitan area and Keolis are employing this process on the Ginko network. In order to encourage passengers to validate their tickets, at every stop the system displays the number of people on board who have not validated their tickets. To make this calculation, an algorithm compares the number of passengers getting on and off with the number of validated tickets. Depending on the result, a dedicated screen displays a message of congratulations, encouragement or a warning – always anonymous, of course. The aim of this approach is to encourage passengers to validate their tickets, in addition to the traditional “firm” methods such as ticket inspectors.
The nudge as a tool for customer knowledge
Led jointly by the Keolis Innovation Department, its Besançon subsidiary and Grand Besançon Métropole, the development of these nudges now provides a better understanding of passenger behavior. Collecting this data also helps the operator to identify the stops in the Ginko network where fraud is most prevalent in order to better target inspection operations.
Nudging, a concept with a bright future
While testing of the dynamic nudge system will continue through summer 2022, Keolis Besançon plans to extend this approach to new parts of the network. Nudging can also be replicated at other Keolis subsidiaries using vehicles equipped with counting devices and ticket validation sensors. Other use cases are already being studied: safety (seat belts in buses, safe distancing on platforms) or traffic management in stations (use of stairs versus escalators). The future looks bright for the gentle nudge.