Transport User Voice – August 2019 – Getting more for users from our insight work

30 July 2019

Developing our National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS)

It is important that Transport Focus produces high quality insight that can be useful and used widely to make things better for transport users, such as the 20-year old flagship NRPS.

NRPS is a brilliant asset for the rail industry and beyond, and it’s the organisation’s job to make it useful, easy-to-use as well as constantly improving and updating it, such as by refreshing the design of reports, which you might have noticed on social media or online.

20 years’ worth of data (40 waves) is now published on our datahub, so making it easier to find on our website alongside four other surveys. Users can easily see the results in a very visual and dynamic way and filter the results as they need, then export them straight into a presentation deck. It’s also really easy to run and to export advanced analysis looking at any data over any timeframe and all the verbatim comments can be viewed and searched. Do have a look!

Artificial Intelligence is now being used to pull out more information from the hundreds of thousands of verbatim comments from passengers over the last few years. It has analysed the rich data in new ways and helped enormously in pulling out themes and emotions. It will be used more, and the fascinating findings will be available in the future.

People now expect to provide feedback on smartphones, laptops and tablets – particularly those in younger age groups. Since 2017 respondents have been offered a choice of completing the Survey using the traditional paper version or online. The proportion responding online has been increasing steadily to the point where four out of ten did so in Spring 2019.

It raises the question of whether Transport Focus could get more information from the users completing online? Would they be happy to answer a few more questions? If so, could their responses help us understand the thinking behind their answers?

Firstly, the good news is that around three quarters of the online respondents were happy to provide more information. Secondly, the quality and detail of their responses was excellent. Again, the results will be published and what is found out shared live using an instant portal. Train companies and others will then be able to see what passengers are saying in real time.

Transport Focus held an event in July to share these ideas and recent developments. Several rail companies and organisations attended and gave some clear feedback on how they might use these improvements to NRPS and what priorities they have. They heard about gathering actionable information quickly from the Transport User Panel and further ideas for hearing from passengers about their journeys. This will supplement the great robust data that NRPS provides.

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