Themes into features
Through diligent research and lively debate, the National Youth Team has identified a set of key themes to consider when building the mobility platform. These themes include information, safety, ownership, trust, and fun. The next problem for the project team and the National Youth Team to solve is: how do these themes translate into useful features of a potential Pick&Mix platform?
With this in mind, the project team have recently held four focus groups, with 6-10 participants in each, to discuss the key themes with young adults (ages 16-25): one with University students in Edinburgh, one with young professionals in Glasgow, one with Call Centre staff in Arbroath (as an example of a small-medium sized town) and one with a rural high school in Angus. The focus groups tested potential features of the emerging mobility platform, discussing the functionality of different features and ranking their relative importance in order.
Differences and commonality between focus groups
Of all the themes identified by the National Youth Team, the number one priority identified across focus groups was basic travel information: accurate and easy to access prices, times and updates across multiple modes. Additional lifestyle features around themes such as safety and fun were valued but viewed as ‘nice to have’ extras.
Of the ‘nice to haves’, a feature which appealed to all groups was the ‘guaranteed ride home’ e.g. a taxi ride if you miss the last bus home. However, some priorities differed between the four cohorts that we spoke to during focus groups.
The University students in Edinburgh were enthused by features which would allow them to personalise their mobility service, such as the ability to continually change their subscription or by personalising journey searches.
Conversely, the young professionals in Glasgow valued efficiency above all else; getting information, and getting to their destination, quickly.
The groups in Arbroath and Angus felt more constrained by their transport options, and so were excited by the opportunities that Pick&Mix could bring in their local area and when they travelled to cities. Particularly valued was access to bikes through bike share or hire schemes.
Will Pick&Mix be desirable?
Towards the end of each focus group, participants were asked: would you be interested in using a new mobility platform which addresses these key issues? The answer was an overwhelming yes! Most could see how the service could simplify their transport needs BUT only if the platform works well. Whilst the service resulting from the Pick&Mix project aims to go beyond just providing transport information, by integrating into wider lifestyle needs, we must ensure that the core service: providing up to date, integrated, basic information, is of high quality. No matter how attractive other features of a mobility platform are, this will be a determining factor of whether the service is used in the first place.