Potential uses of big data in public transportation

Optimizing operations, cutting costs and increasing revenues: These are the challenges facing almost every company in the public transportation sector. Companies that want to meet these challenges and ensure future success should utilize the potential of new technologies such as big data.

Between cost pressure and customer orientation: There is less and less financial leeway in the public transportation sector due to the strained budgetary situations of many municipalities and subsidy cuts enacted by the German government. However, transportation companies cannot afford to lose sight of customer needs and must continue to provide them with high-quality services. For this to happen, there needs to be innovation. The digital transformation and the accompanying utilization of big data technologies provides transportation companies with the opportunity to cut costs while strengthening their customer bases by analyzing historic data.

How big data analytics help public transportation

1. Optimizing operating procedures and cutting costs:

How many passengers use which routes when? This is one of the most important questions in the public transportation sector. The more precisely transportation companies know how their routes are being used, the more cost efficiently they can deploy staff and trains. Big data analytics help the public transportation sector to predict passenger volumes as precisely as possible. 

In this context, for example, certain events such as bad weather, holidays, malfunctions and customer feedback from running transportation operations can be analyzed and processed in real time. This knowledge can be used to plan operating procedures more efficiently and affordably. Moreover, transportation companies can increase customer retention by doing away with short trains during times of peak passenger volume and increasing the frequency of trains in a service-oriented way, for example.

2. Targeted increases in transit passes:

A further challenge facing transportation companies is having to increase revenues – especially in light of growing cost pressures. With the help of big data analytics, companies can create system-based sales forecasts. Using historic sales figures – for example figures from the same months of the previous year – and big data applications, transportation companies can analyze customer behavior even more accurately. This knowledge helps public transportation companies to develop sales strategies. They can use it to further optimize their range of products, increase revenues and improve customer satisfaction. This puts companies in a position where they can start campaigns to win back customers at the right point in time, for instance, in order to increase sales of season tickets. This information also allows transportation companies to improve timetables and thus to act in a more customer-focused way using the season ticket figures.

Data Insight Lab data analyses for public transportation

If it’s a matter of big analytics, transportation and logistics experts from Lufthansa Industry Solutions work together with the in-house Data Insight Lab. The data scientists and data architects from this competence center compile, structure and analyze existing data on the basis of use cases. With the help of this data, they then evaluate its potential for a company. In addition to this, our experts then assist a company on its way to becoming a data-driven company 4.0 during the subsequent implementation of big data projects.