Scholarly article on topic 'Urban Public Transport Service Co-creation: Leveraging Passenger's Knowledge to Enhance Travel Experience'

Urban Public Transport Service Co-creation: Leveraging Passenger's Knowledge to Enhance Travel Experience Academic research paper on "Social and economic geography"

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Abstract of research paper on Social and economic geography, author of scientific article — António A. Nunes, Teresa Galvão, João Falcão e Cunha

Abstract Mobile devices are increasingly pervasive and are transforming information distribution paradigms. A rapidly growing segment of urban public transport passengers carry mobile computing devices, permanently and on the move. In a context of thinning financial resources, getting customers involved in the actual delivery of a public transport service as real-time information consumers and providers, may be a powerful method to enhance travel experience while reducing operational costs for the service operator. Each and every customer travelling on a public transport network has unique knowledge about the service operation as it unfolds. This paper proposes a framework that aims to unify public transport passengers’ collective intelligence through crowdsourcing, using their mobile computing devices and dedicated web services. It strives to intensify win-win relationships between public transport passengers and operators. The structured exchange of information is sustained by a validation mechanism for data reliability, and an incentive mechanism to encourage passenger participation. Passengers benefit from rich real-time data tailored to their profiles, to ease their journeys and improve travel experience, in exchange for their own participation providing and validating information. Operators gain access to rich customer generated data, which in an aggregated format may provide a real-time assessment of customer experience and of local performance across the entire network operation. Operators may be required to reward travellers who become prolific co-creators of the public transport service, but higher customer experience levels, lesser needs for investment in controlling mechanisms, and continuous free monitoring of customer opinions can jointly lead to financial returns.

Academic research paper on topic "Urban Public Transport Service Co-creation: Leveraging Passenger's Knowledge to Enhance Travel Experience"

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 111 (2014) 577 - 585 —

EWGT2013 - 16th Meeting of the EURO Working Group on Transportation

Urban public transport service co-creation: leveraging passenger's knowledge to enhance travel experience

Antonio A. Nunesa*, Teresa Galvaoa, Joao Falcao e Cunhaa

aFaculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal

Abstract

Mobile devices are increasingly pervasive and are transforming information distribution paradigms. A rapidly growing segment of urban public transport passengers carry mobile computing devices, permanently and on the move. In a context of thinning financial resources, getting customers involved in the actual delivery of a public transport service as real-time information consumers and providers, may be a powerful method to enhance travel experience while reducing operational costs for the service operator. Each and every customer travelling on a public transport network has unique knowledge about the service operation as it unfolds. This paper proposes a framework that aims to unify public transport passengers' collective intelligence through crowdsourcing, using their mobile computing devices and dedicated web services. It strives to intensify win-win relationships between public transport passengers and operators. The structured exchange of information is sustained by a validation mechanism for data reliability, and an incentive mechanism to encourage passenger participation. Passengers benefit from rich real-time data tailored to their profiles, to ease their journeys and improve travel experience, in exchange for their own participation providing and validating information. Operators gain access to rich customer generated data, which in an aggregated format may provide a real-time assessment of customer experience and of local performance across the entire network operation. Operators may be required to reward travellers who become prolific co-creators of the public transport service, but higher customer experience levels, lesser needs for investment in controlling mechanisms, and continuous free monitoring of customer opinions can jointly lead to financial returns.

© 2013 The Authors.PublishedbyElsevier Ltd.

Selection and/or peer-review underresponsibilityof Scientific Committee Keywords: public transport; value; mobile; crowdsourcing.

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +351 220 414 672 ; fax: +351 225 081 538. E-mail address: antonio.nunes@fe.up.pt

1877-0428 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Scientific Committee

doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.091

1. Introduction

Personal mobile devices have become increasingly pervasive in recent years (Saha & Mukherjee, 2003). The widespread availability of such devices combined with the growing coverage of ubiquitous data communication networks in urban areas is causing a dramatic transformation in the way information is produced and consumed (Manovich, 2009). A growing number of public transport passengers carry mobile computing devices such as smartphones, tablets and portable music players permanently and on the move (Smith, 2010; Smith, 2012). Many of such devices have virtually uninterrupted access to the Internet, allowing passengers to send and to receive information in real time, anytime and anywhere. This context is offering today an unprecedented opportunity for a profound change in the way public transport operators communicate with their customers. This may not be only about relaying travel information in a timely manner, but also about getting passengers involved in providing real time information that is valuable to others and to the public transport operators themselves. This paper will discuss the potential benefits and risks for public transport operators to engage in such a novel information exchange paradigm. It will be argued that it will enable the provision of improved and personalised public transport services that enhance travel experience whilst allowing for reductions in operational costs.

Each and every passenger travelling on an urban public transport network has unique knowledge about the service operation as it unfolds, which may be of interest to fellow travellers and to the public transport operator. In isolation, that knowledge may seem of little value. But taking all passengers into consideration, there is a mass of potential observers across the network at any given time. Leveraging such distributed knowledge requires the empowerment of passengers as information providers, and the ability to transform it into structured information that can be efficiently aggregated and interpreted (Nunes, Gonfalves, & Galvao, 2013). Moreover, it requires incentives for the active participation of passengers in co-creating value with the public transport operator (Nunes, Galvao, Falcao e Cunha, & Pitt, 2011).

The next section of this paper frames theoretically the co-creation of value in the context of services. The third section will review and discuss the role that the availability of information can play in the urban public transport domain from a service provider's point of view. The fourth section describes a proposed framework of passenger involvement to enable value co-creation through crowdsourcing; a case-study is briefly described to illustrate the practical application of the proposal, and is followed by the conclusions of this paper.

2. Value co-creation in services

Customers are increasingly getting involved in shaping their own service experiences (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004). This is a trend that became generally known as value co-creation. Prahalad and Ramaswamy (2000) coined the term co-creation when they identified an evolution of the role of customers mainly from being passive buyers of products and services to become active players in the value creation process, bringing along their own specific preferences and requirements. These authors attributed this trend largely to the development of the Internet, which not only allowed customers to engage in dialogues with product and service providers, but also in discussions with fellow customers outside the corporation's sphere of control. Numerous examples of value co-creation forms have been described and analysed in the literature, such as the involvement of customers in beta software testing, the development of open source software, the transfer of labour to customers in selfservices and self-checkouts, and more importantly the web 2.0 revolution (e.g. Banks & Humphreys, 2008; Grossman, 2006; Payne, Storbacka, & Frow, 2008; Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004). Moreover, the acknowledgement that the customer is always an active participant in co-creation value with the firm is one of the foundational premises of service-dominant logic (Vargo & Lusch, 2004; Vargo & Lusch, 2008).

Many firms have embraced this service-dominant logic into their strategies and are already leveraging customer participation as value co-creators for the benefit of the quality of services they provide. On that basis, such firms are able to create win-win situations with their customers, often saving resources while offering higher

degrees of personalisation, promoting customer engagement and, in some cases, lowering prices. In short, this service-dominant logic consists of an evolution from a goods-dominant logic based on tangible outputs and discrete transactions, towards a perspective 'in which intangibility, exchange processes, and relationships are central' (Vargo & Lusch, 2004, p. 2). One could argue that in some cases the mere delivery of a service is a discrete transaction with a tangible output. Therefore, the understanding of this service-dominant logic may be extended in light of Pine & Gilmore's (1998) argument that the staging of experiences for customers in the context of services is today's competitive battleground. So it could be argued that in order to fully embrace the intangibility of this service-dominant logic, firms must be able to stage memorable experiences that trigger positive emotional responses from their customers.

Previous research has indicated that the public sector is generally lagging behind regarding the adoption of value co-creating practices and tools, due to a lack of customer orientation (Cassia & Magno, 2009). This may not come as a surprise since public services are often not as pressured to focus on the customer as private services are to guarantee its subsistence and business success in highly competitive environments. Urban public transport services in particular are often operated as concessions, meaning that direct competition is virtually non-existent. Nonetheless, public services in many countries are currently facing greater challenges as a result of tighter restrictions on the amount of resources that are available to them. The co-creation of value can therefore be a tool for innovating public services, drawing on knowledge of citizens for improving service provision with fewer resources (Alves, 2012). Urban public transport services - in a sense that even if they are privately owned they often rely on public subsidies - are an interesting domain for the application of value co-creation practices, but one that has received little attention in the literature. One of few studies that are available has shown, based on a case-study of a railway operator, that value co-creation might play a strategic role in the urban public transport domain, with potential performance improvements as a result of the abovementioned transition from a goods-dominant towards a service-dominant logic (Gebauer, Johnson, & Enquist, 2010). Moreover, with this study these authors have demonstrated that a desired reduction of the environmental impact of transport can be achieved not only through costly increases public in transport capacity but also by encouraging "value co-creation by engaging customers in marketing activities, offering self-servicing opportunities, creating customer experiences, solving customer problems, and co-designing services in collaboration with customers" (Gebauer et al., 2010, p. 527). A simple and often cited example of co-creation in transport is that of the online check-in provided by airline operators. It enables a win-win situation where the service provider saves on ground resources and the client saves time at the airport by checking-in and printing his ticket in advance, which arguably may enhance that service experience.

Earlier in this section, the web 2.0 revolution has been pointed out as an important form of value co-creation, which is particularly relevant for the argument that will be developed in this paper. The web 2.0 designation, also known as second generation web, refers to a broad set of characteristics that are common across a number of collaborative web-based services that emerged mainly in the past decade, and which are geared towards harnessing collective intelligence (O'Reilly, 2005). Many of such services fall within the umbrella term of social media, and include "wikis, blogs, podcasts, folksonomies, mashups, social networks, virtual worlds, crowdsourcing, and RSS filters" (Andriole, 2010, p. 67). Crowdsourcing has become increasingly popular among these types of services, and relates to the assignment of a task to a large number of people, instead of being carried out by a limited number of experts (Greengard, 2011). Some organisations are already using crowdsourcing services to leverage collective intelligence and actively co-create value with their customers. In addition, there are also instances where networks of customers are using crowdsourcing services to co-create value outside the target organisation's control. This is the case of web-based services that allow hotel and restaurant customers to rate their service experiences for the benefit of fellow customers who may be considering eating or staying in the same place, all of which happens whether the target organisations want it or not. Those providing exceptional service experiences may benefit tremendously from reviews of their customers but the contrary is equally true. This paper will draw from such examples and present an information exchange

framework that aims to unify public transport passengers' collective intelligence through crowdsourcing, using personal mobile computing devices and dedicated web services.

3. Doing more with less: the power of information

The availability of timely and reliable information plays an important role for the passenger experience of an urban public transport service. As a result, it can be argued that it has the potential to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Chorus, Molin, and Van Wee (2006) argued that there is empirical evidence in the literature supporting that travellers wish to have access to information on travel times and costs associated with route alternatives, as well as to information on other journey related characteristics such as convenience, comfort and privacy. In addition, Chorus, Arentze, Timmermans, Molin, and Van Wee (2007) highlighted the value of realtime updates, arguing that travellers also need more advanced types of information such as early warning functions in their personal mobile devices to ease their journeys. The abovementioned studies focussed on the need of information from the travellers' perspective and the potential that information has in changing perceptions and attitudes towards urban public transport. They imply the requirement for a better flow of information from the transport operator to its customers. However, passengers themselves possess information that can be of interest to fellow travellers and to the operator, and nowadays the required technology is already in place to allow for a bidirectional flow of information in real-time. In other words, public transport operators may also leverage the availability of information to offer better services, whereas passengers have become potential data providers in what can be considered a new value co-creating paradigm.

While traveller's needs for information are well documented in the literature, the is a lack of debate regarding the public transport operator's needs for information that can be met by their customers. This is what will be discussed in the following paragraphs. First, as any other service provider, public transport operators should know their customers well. Today, that sort of information is mainly captured through satisfaction surveys and customer complaints. That type of interaction is limited in several ways. It does not occur very regularly, meaning that passengers are unlikely to recall past events that triggered either a positive or negative attitude towards the service. One may not like to travel in a given mode of transport although for that person it may no longer be clear which were the events that originated that discontentment and subsequent attitude towards it. Additionally, the information captured through surveys is limited in terms of its scope. For example, it may become evident through a survey that the actual vehicles being used in a certain bus route do not please passengers of that service, but knowing why many passengers favour the waiting facilities of a particular bus stop facility over another may be trickier. A key difference is that the first aspect relates to the bus route as a whole, whereas the second aspect relates to a particular area that service travels through and is more likely to be affected by the surrounding environment that is outside the operator's control. Nonetheless, the second aspect - relating to the attractiveness of a given bus stop facility - should not be any less important for the overall passenger experience than the quality of a vehicle is. Given the importance of certain types of information that cannot easily be captured through satisfaction surveys, new tools would be welcome to enable its timely and reliable delivery to the transport operator. The availability of that sort of information would enhance the knowledge of customers and of their impressions, letting operators address existing service deficiencies more consistently to enhance the service provided, which in turn should have a positive effect both in terms of service patronage and overall travel experience.

Second, despite the abovementioned limitations, existing methods for collecting information from passengers are costly and time consuming. That means that in some cases valuable information may not be collected as often as ideally should be. In other cases, revenues of public transport operators may hardly justify the technological investment that is made in controlling mechanisms and human resources that are required for monitoring services effectively. A thorough understanding of passengers' travel patterns and modal decisions is essential for adapting service offer to existing demand. Likewise, so is real-time monitoring of service delivery indicators such as

punctuality and crowding. Today, access to such information often requires carrying out extensive travel surveys and investing on technological equipment such as tracking devices and sensors, all of which may be unaffordable or perceived not to be worthwhile by some public transport operators.

In summary, existing methodologies that public transport operators use to get to know their customers and to capture certain types of service indicators are costly and have severe limitations. In fact, urban public transport passengers generally end up having a passive role on satisfaction surveys because they only answer what is asked from them, and only when something is asked from them. Moreover, such satisfaction surveys tend to be overoptimistic because they largely fail to capture passengers who gave up the service very quickly. And when it comes to the provision of service indicators, the involvement of urban public transport passengers is largely inexistent, despite their rich and unique knowledge being the users of the service. An alternative approach shall be introduced in light of the following story: in the early 1960s, Jane Jacobs (1961) challenged the prevailing urban planning theorists with her concept of 'eyes on the street'. She argued that the best way of keeping a neighbourhood safe from crime was to design buildings in a way that encourage residents and other locals to engage with the street providing natural surveillance. That meant a departure from a high-rise tower block architecture that was dominant at the time, and notions of public security relying on the presence of authorities. Jacobs' theory remains a reference for architects and urban planners today. A translation of her ideas to the urban public transport domain means that passengers, who are observers holding rich distributed knowledge about the services as they unfold, could become involved in providing information that is valuable to fellow travellers and to the public transport operator. Such information could be significantly cheaper and spatially and temporally more relevant for operators, covering aspects that allow the operator to get to know the client better, as well as to monitor in real-time many indicators of service delivery. In comparison with Jacobs' theory, the 'eyes' remain the same, but the interaction mechanism changes: personal mobile devices become the new windows facing the street.

4. Passenger involvement framework

This section will describe the information exchange framework that aims to unify public transport passengers' collective intelligence through crowdsourcing, using personal mobile computing devices and dedicated web services. It will set out urban public transport passengers' roles, discuss the need for structuring information and to provide incentives for participation, highlight potential risks, and lastly present a prototype service as a case-study that follows the principles of this framework.

4.1. The roles of urban public transport passengers

The widespread availability of personal mobile devices combined with the growing coverage of ubiquitous data communication networks in urban areas allows public transport passengers to send and to receive information in real time, anytime and anywhere. Akin to the services that have thrived as part of the web 2.0 revolution, urban public transport passengers assume the essential roles of service providers and consumers within this information exchange framework. In fact, the most successful social networking services nowadays (e.g. Twitter and Facebook) are almost entirely reliant on the participation of their users, not only consuming but also generating valuable content that is distributed across their respective audiences. In addition, in other services where reliability of information is key, users assume a third role of validators of information (e.g. Wikipedia). In urban public transport too, the reliability of information is key in a sense that passengers make travel decisions and public transport operators make operational and managerial decisions based on the information that is available to them, with potential dire consequences if it is unreliable. As a result, in the context of this information exchange, adding to the roles of information consumers and information providers, urban public transport passengers must also assume a third role of information validators.

4.2. Structuring information

A public transport operation typically has very large numbers of passengers travelling on the network at any given moment in time. While the multiplicity and distribution of 'eyes' across the network is at the very heart of an opportunity to leverage passenger knowledge, it also presents a major challenge: how to manage and make sense of large amounts of data being provided? In short, a possible answer is that data must be exchanged in a structured way, and subsequently merged so that it is meaningful and concise for later analysis by the public transport operator. In order to be useful and relevant, most transport related information needs to be structured in terms of time and space. As examples, a report of a traffic incident is only useful for travellers and network managers if accompanied by an hour and location; likewise, overcrowding issues of a public transport vehicle or waiting facility can only be effectively mitigated by network managers if they know where and when that situation occurred. In addition, information must be timely or else network managers will only be able to act upon chronic issues and not exceptional ones. In fact, the use of personal mobile devices with access to data communication networks makes real-time involvement of customers possible, catering for the timeliness of information exchange. But the need for structuring data according to time and space remains. Such issue has already been dealt with in existing literature focussing crowdsourcing of data with spatio-temporal attributes.

Greengard (2011) mentions a service provided by the organisation Ushahidi (ushahidi.com) as an example of spatio-temporal crowdsourcing, which is based on a simple proposition: volunteers report events as they happen through a web browser or mobile phone, and software communicating to the dedicated web service maps them by time and location. Despite its simplicity, such service has already allowed for the effective mapping of violence in Kenya and Pakistan, to identify medical needs after the earthquake in Haiti and medicine shortages in the Philippines, and to monitor local elections in Afghanistan, India and Mexico. Authorities have had the opportunity to act upon those rich sets of information for the benefit of populations affected. In the context of transport networks, Wolfson and Xu (2010) have argued that social networks could be used for crowdsourcing of spatio-temporal data of interest both to travellers and to managers. These authors provided some application examples, albeit relating to private cars, such as real-time availability of parking spaces and car-pooling opportunities. The mobile application Waze (www.waze.com) is aligned with their idea. It relies on a system that collects traffic related spatio-temporal information obtained through a combination of crowdsourcing and sensors embedded in user's mobile phones. The information that is collected via its web service is used to help drivers make informed decisions in terms of the best travel routes, and to let managers know traffic conditions in realtime across the entire network.

Going back to the urban public transport domain, if passengers become engaged in co-creating value by proving spatio-temporal information in real-time, all conditions that enable structuring and merging of data are met. Making use of passengers' own knowledge, and of their sensors embedded in mobile devices, operators are able to collect structured information about numerous aspects relating to the service delivery such as crowding, delays, traffic incidents, driver competence or vehicle atmosphere, as well as a continuous monitoring of travel patterns and customer feedback. That information can then be merged and incorporated in real-time into the operator's information system - namely the identification of route, vehicle and driver whenever applicable - to assist with live operational decisions (e.g. assigning drivers and vehicles to routes). Collecting this information using a dedicated web service may reduce the operator's investment in human resources and technology for collecting such data whilst improving experience for customers through timely action upon reported problems. It is worth mentioning however that the privacy of passengers who exchange information must be kept for security reasons. Therefore, passengers should be given the option of providing information anonymously; even if they decide to disclose their identity amongst trusted peers, the information should be distributed anonymously to the general public.

4.3. Incentives to participation and risks

Public transport operators will likely have to offer incentives to their customers for supplying information as part of this value co-creation paradigm. Although the improvement in service delivery leading to an enhanced customer experience may work as an incentive in itself, this may not be enough to encourage mass participation. Moreover, it would be fair to reward customers who participate most proactively in co-creating value with the operator. For the framework to hold and be worthwhile for both passengers and operators, reductions in operational costs and increased patronage levels must offset the costs of rewarding travellers. That is something that requires an analysis of specificities of each particular operation but ultimately, it is the public transport operators' decision how to reward its contributing passengers. As an example of a reward, a public transport operator could offer monthly travel card discounts requiring passengers to exceed a certain threshold of active participation in a previous month. Alternatively, passengers could receive vouchers to spend on purchases at partner retailers. Effectively there are many possibilities for potential rewards.

From a financial point of view, getting customers involved in co-creating the public transport service may not present too much of a risk because it may only require modest levels of investment, with great return potential. On the other hand, public transport operators may perceive the empowerment of their customers' views and opinions as part of the proposed information exchange paradigm to carry greater risks for them. Passengers will in fact be able to quickly share aspects relating to the delivery of the public transport service with a relevant audience. Understandably, operators may feel that they are easing passenger complaints, which does raise scepticism and fear of deteriorating a brand image created throughout the years. These concerns have been identified, but there are strong arguments against them if the willingness and commitment from the operators to improve their services exist. First, higher levels of exposure will encourage public transport operators to excel -any service provider has much to learn from listening to their customers' voices; also, it should not be forgotten that customers will praise the brand if provided with great service experiences, so there are potential gains weighing against the risk of complaints. Second, operators who are truly committed to improve customer experience have already exposed themselves and have done well with it. For example, those that started providing real-time service information either at trains stations and bus stops or via mobile devices (e.g. the Metro operator and main bus operator in Porto, Portugal) have allowed passengers to pinpoint service delays; nonetheless, despite the increased exposure, such innovations bring about great benefits in terms of managing passengers' expectations and overall travel experience, and that is often praised (Ferris, Watkins, & Borning, 2010). And third, the previously given example of restaurant and hotel reviews may well apply to urban public transport. Personal mobile devices and the rise of social media are already facilitating the debate among travellers, and therefore the exchange of information will happen with or without the operators' participation. Today, there are hundreds of groups across social networking services dedicated to public transport services, discussing issues without the formal involvement of the operator. It can be argued that if operators' cannot stop the debate, they may well try to leverage it by cooperating with passengers and explore mutually beneficial win-win scenarios.

4.4. The framework in action: case-study

A prototype of a mobile device based service that enables exchanges of information between travellers and public transport operators has already been developed, implemented and tested with commuters in London, and is entirely aligned with the abovementioned framework (Nunes et al., 2011; Gonfalves, 2012; Nunes et al., 2013). The prototype service introduced the concept of temporary networks which rely on the location, travel patterns and travel intentions of its users, as a mechanism for interrelating people who may share travel related information of interest to each other, and to open up a new channel of communication between passengers and public transport operators. Using the mobile application associated with the prototype service, users are able to

check-in when they start a journey, and join a temporary network of travellers that share routes patterns at that specific moment in time. Users are able to share information with other travellers in their temporary network as well as with the public transport operator using the mobile application. In addition, users are randomly prompted to use the mobile application for rating information provided by others in the same temporary network or vehicle to guarantee that it is valid and therefore worthy of being distributed to a wider audience that includes the public transport operator. As an incentive, users accumulate points for providing information that is rated as correct, □ which may be used towards claiming rewards defined by the transport operator. The point system turns the service into a serious game with real rewards, incentivising passengers who are active co-creators of the public transport service (Nunes et al., 2013). Further development of the prototype will be carried out in the near future to enhance the formation of temporary networks.

Testing of the prototype service with commuters in London yielded very interesting results, indicating that commuters would be keen to use it if it were available. The prototype application was felt to be intuitive to use and valuable in a real public transport service environment (Nunes et al., 2013). These results support a view that public transport operators could rely on active passenger involvement in co-creating value as long as mechanisms are in place to enable the exchange of information, to validate it, and to incentivise passengers to participate. Moreover, the information that is exchanged must be structured to be subsequently grouped for analysis by the public transport operator; otherwise the large amounts of data generated would neither be manageable nor useful.

5. Conclusions

Personal mobile devices have transformed information distribution paradigms. Nonetheless, the power of that revolution has yet to be unleashed in the urban public transport domain. It has been argued in this paper that there is immense real-time knowledge of the public transport operation scattered among passengers who are distributed across the network. The argument draws from the literature on value co-creation in the context of services, which sets out the higher levels of customer engagement can lead to win-win situations for customer and service provider. The proposition in this case is that the public transport operator can leverage the knowledge of passengers for reducing operational costs while improving travel experience. A passenger involvement framework has been presented to translate that proposition into practice. It set out that urban public transport passengers need to assume three distinct roles for co-creating value using their personal mobile devices: they must become information consumers, information providers, and information validators. It also set out the need for the spatio-temporal structuring of data to guarantee its usefulness, allowing for the public transport operator to take timely action upon reported issues. Moreover, it has been argued that an incentive mechanism is essential for the long-term success of the passenger involvement framework, and that the potential gains for the public transport operator associated with getting customers involved in co-creating the service should overcome anticipated risks. Lastly, this paper described a prototype service that embodies the essence of this framework, which has been tested with encouraging results.

Acknowledgements

This research work is being supported by the following projects:

• TICE - OneStopTransport project 13843 ("Desenvolvimento de um sistema de informagao de transportes públicos multimodal dirigido ao utilizador", □ www.tice.pt). This project also involves INEGI, IPN, FCTUC, OPT, EFACEC, Carris, CP, STCP, Metro do Porto, Metro Mondego, SMTUC, and OPTIMUS.

• TICE - MOBIPAG project 13847, Mobile Payments National Initiative ("Iniciativa Nacional para Pagamentos Móveis - Servidos Diferenciadores com base em Pagamentos Mó veis", www.tice.pt). This project also involves Universidade do Minho, CEDT, Cardmobili, Creative Systems, and Wintouch.

Funding is provided under the COMPETE, QREN programme, managed by AdI, in the context of European Union FEDER. IBM CAS Portugal, INEGI and IDMEC Polo FEUP are also supporting these projects at FEUP (www.fe.up.pt/IBM-CAS-Portugal).

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