Evaluation of a Natural Speech Based Informational Inquiry System as a Potential Means to Increase Transit Utilization

This project proposes to explore the potential of a user friendly, natural speech based information inquiry application as one means of increasing public transit utilization. It is suggested that a key challenge to expanding transit ridership is to encourage people who have not used a system to develop familiarity with it. One example is older adults who have lost the ability to use their car or who should reduce their dependence on it. Various factors contribute to the hesitancy of potential new users to try-out public transit options, including uncertainty about routes, schedules, and other basic utilization information. Individuals who are unfamiliar with routine maps and schedules often are unsure of how to begin making sense of these materials. Automated information systems provide one means of accessing such information in an anonymous and potentially non-threatening manner. In particular, the development of next generation natural speech based inquiry systems offer the attraction of obtaining information about the transit system through the familiar conversational method of asking questions. The proposed application could potentially be deployed in various forms (such as phone access, internet or kiosk). The initial phase of the project will focus on gathering strategic information from potential users on implementations they would be most likely to use and the types of information they perceive as being most useful in supporting and/or increasing their use of the transit system. Particular attention will be focused on how demographic factors such as age and gender, as well as technology experience, impact on preferences and likely willingness to consider using various implementations of such systems. The follow-on phases will involve actual development and evaluation of a demonstration application.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Contract Numbers:



    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Research and Innovative Technology Administration

      Department of Transportation
      1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Performing Organizations:

      New England University Transportation Center

      Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 40-279
      Cambridge, MA  United States  01239
    • Principal Investigators:

      Glass, Jim

    • Start Date: 20091101
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20110831
    • Source Data: RiP Project 24555

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01480758
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: New England University Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT07-G-0001, MITR22-6
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: May 7 2013 1:01AM