The second sentiment mapping in transport workshop at The Science Museum

As one of the themes was transport disruption, the second of our two workshops to generate ideas for using sentiment mapping in the transport sector, was, with somewhat ironic coincidence, convened amidst strike action affecting London Underground services.

Nonetheless, on 5 February at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre, the workshop was well attended, with delegates making it to South Kensington from across the country.

What is Sentiment mapping?

Sentiment mapping offers a way to provide map-based visualisations for exactly how members of the public respond to locations or situations. The data behind such maps could be gathered from, for example, posts made on social media channels such as Twitter, or opinions expressed using bespoke mobile phone apps.

Sentiment mapping is not just an alternative way to find out about problems with the current transport system it could also help to understand which transport problems really are important to people, in terms of their values, preferences and beliefs.

It could also become a way to find out how best to respond to problems, for example, the information people most want to know to enable them to best route around transport disruption.

As such, sentiment mapping could become a powerful tool to help the public feel genuinely involved in transport planning and that their views are being listened to, thereby creating a more responsive system – responsive to actual needs and values.

…sentiment mapping could become a powerful tool to help the public feel genuinely involved in transport planning and that their views are being listened to…

Generating ideas for potential applications

The aim of both workshops (the first was held at the Royal College of Art’s Senior Common Room in January) was to generate ideas for potential applications of sentiment mapping in transport.

Delegates discussed the benefits of increased public participation in transport planning, improved transport operator responses to disruption (based on user preferences) and improved transport services design.

While the first workshop focused on benefits from a transport operator and planner perspective, the second focused on benefits to transport users.

Ideas suggested for using sentiment mapping ranged from helping to identify potential road safety hotspots before fatalities occur; gathering the sentiments of particular groups of transport users, for example those with disabilities; to providing evidence for prioritising transport improvements.

A refreshing day and a great environment for this type of activity.

Sentiment mapping, whatever we mean by that, is one tool in helping individuals evaluate those choices and businesses to respond.  A good day for exploring this fascinating area…(feedback from the first workshop)

Next steps – we want to engage with potential partners

The workshops are part of a wider Transport Systems Catapult project on sentiment mapping and its applications for transport, a collaboration with the Royal College of Art and Commonplace.

The next steps for the project involve preparing a feasibility study and business case for the resulting potential applications – covering transport planning, service design and responses to disruption. Potentially, this will then be taken forward as a full demonstrator project that will use sentiment mapping in transport.

Transport Systems Catapult would like to hear from interested transport operators and planners on potential opportunities for collaboration or sponsorship. Please contact Erica Ward if you would like to find out more or, indeed, if you want to be kept up to date with progress of the project.

Presenter Mike Saunders, Commonplace

Breakout sessions at the first workshop

Breakout sessions at the first workshop

Breakout sessions at the second workshop

Some outputs of the second workshop

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