Marketing public transit: Los Angeles
Through marketing and branding campaigns, Metro is working to change public opinion of the transit system. And it is working; discretionary ridership (people who have the option to commute by car, but choose transit) has increased from 24% to 36%.
The common perception is that money spent on marketing would be better spent on the transit systems themselves. The problem with this line of thinking is that it is short sighted. Over time, a sustained investment in marketing increases the number of people who use transit. Increased ridership leads to increased revenue and, ideally, an increase in service to match the new demand.
The Metro Transit Study should add a line item for marketing. These days, marketing can be done on the cheap with social media and just by creating collateral and putting it out there for people to take and use.