Approximately 36,000 Baltimore City public school (BCPS) students use the Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) to get to school each year yet there voice isn’t always heard by officials. A partnership between the MTA and Wide Angle Youth Media, is changing that.
At the beginning of last year, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) launched the “Rate Your Ride” program, which allows public transit riders to give instant feedback on the quality of their commute. Following a successful pilot program launched by the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, this program allows commuters to submit a quick and easy evaluation of their daily commute. Commuters can participate by calling, texting or completing the 4-question survey online.
Rate Your Ride adds to the performance met rics the MTA collects, whether on-time performance or customer complaints, in real-time with very little effort says MTA’s Chief Performance Officer, Michael J. Walk – it’s a great way to identify performance problems and develop solutions while keeping the lines of communication open with customers and community stakeholders.
Any tech tool, no matter how incredible, is only as good as the people who use it. This is where Wide Angle comes in. Their organization provides media education for youth so they can tell their story and engage in their communities. They are working with the MTA to develop a campaign to increase Baltimore City Youth participation in the Rate Your Ride program. Wide Angle students are advertising on the ground using posters, business cards, and newsletters in addition to online outreach. Students produced a Rate Your Ride commercial (see their great work here) and are creating infographics to illustrate the data collected. By increasing awareness of the Rate Your Ride app, more students are now having a voice and providing feedback for the MTA on their experience.
Often times when creating new technologies we forget the important work that needs to be done to make sure people are aware and using the new tools created for them. Engaging the community, both online and offline, is incredibly important to the success of any program. The MTA partnership with Wide Angle Youth Media is a great example of how you can tap into new communities, listen to previously unheard voices, and in the end make the community better for all.