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BRT Branding and Ima ge

Cliff Henke
Sr. Analyst, BRT and Small Starts PB TR&S, Inc.

APTA Bus Conference 2007

Topics Today

BRT Vehicle Image and Branding Overview Case Studies Branding Theory Applied: Dos and Donts

What is BRT: A System of Components

All of these are important to brand!!
Vehicles Running Ways Stations & Stops ITS & Fare Payment Service Plan

Recent Deployment: Eugenes Green Line EmX

4 miles (60% exclusive RoW) $23.5 million project, Opened January 2007 46% ridership increase 6 hybrid advance-design NFI artics Branded as new spine

Image Invites, But System Features Keep Customers

BRT System Success Measures Vehicle Characteristics Reliability Speed Capacity Drive System Styling

Ridership Increase System Capacity, Service Frequency Capital & Operating Cost Travel Time, Wait Time Bus Emissions, Noise Economic Development, Land Use Safety Perceptions

High-Comfort, Amenities
Interior Finish Large Windows Luggage Racks Information Grab Bars

Rear Window Multiple Doors Circulation Seat Comfort Fast Securement

New Flyer Invero i40 LF

Survey Said: Sleek, Modern Image; Quiet; Safe



Stylized Std Standard Artic


Artic Specialized

Gillig 40 BRT New Flyer Hybrid Electric 60DLF-BRT Irisbus Civis

Image/Branding/Identity + Frequent, Reliable Service = Increased Ridership

% Ridership

% Time Savings

35 - 100

17 - 43

Does Brand and Image Matter As Much as Other Things?

Branding/Image Features
Distinct Livery/ Image ColorCoded Station
Type & Length Styled Vehicle? Number of Bus Capacity Doors Board/ Exit

% RiderShip Increase % Time Savings



Stops & Stations

Artic 60





Honolulu L. A. Metro Rapid Oakland

Rainbow Wrap


Artic 60


1/3 1/2 3/3

62 51 70


43 25 17

Color Coded


Low Floor 40/45/60

No & Yes

40 35

Color Coded


40 Van Hool

Sort of

Falbel, Levinson et als: Median 15% due to image/branding

**Over Years


Case study: Las Vegas

Service features:
Hi-tech French made Civis 5 mi exclusive lane Distinctive stations 12-20 min. headways, 17

hr./day Same fare, but pre-paid

Image and brand essential in land of glitz Huge success, at least 3 more corridors planned

LA Metro Rapid: Incremental BRT

Simple route layout: easy to find/use Frequent: 3-10 minutes during peak Fewer stops: mile apart Level boarding (LF buses speed-up dwell times Enhanced stations: maps, lighting, canopies, Next Bus displays Same fare Minimal investment: Signal priority Passenger information Strong branding (buses, stations etc.)

Results after demonstration: 23-29% reduction in travel times 38-42% increase in riders/weekday

28 routes, 450+ miles by 2008

Framework and Context

15 routes now in operation Newest to be launched in June Analyzed all MTA and Municipal Operator bus routes (250) Identified regional corridors (36)
500 boardings per route mile 10 mile route length

Narrowed to 28 Corridors:
Transit use (passengers, % weekends, travel time, average trip, load factor, etc.) Transit potential: within .5 mile, activity ctrs., employment density on corridor Transit dependence: % poverty, 0 car homes

Results on 11 routes to date: 15% average increase in riders/weekday 1/3 new riders are former auto commuters Same operating and very low

Tiered branding system

Case study: Leeds Overground

Created to simplify use 10 min. headways max. Other new services added (ftr) Ridership increased, but serious brand confusion with London plans

Advanced Branding Theory: Brands As Cults (Douglas Atkin, The Culting o f Brands )
When Customers Become True Believers: People join not to conform but to become more individualistic Brand is part of customers identity Examples: Saturn? BMW? MB? Starbucks? Apple (Mac and iPod)? Certain (Online) games? Sports teams? Creating Cults: Community Admirationeven devotion tobrand values Sense of shared mission/purpose, us vs. them Heirarchies: onlookers, members, ubermembers

Can public transportation cult its brand?

Do you have devotees? (Club MAX) Is there a shared sense of purpose? (LACMTA) Is it a higher purpose? (Use your EIRs) Do you have distinct corporate and product values? Are they taught or discovered? Do you have community: Do riders, workers, management, stakeholders share in it? Does the campaign end when the referendum passes? Is it bottom up or top down?

Six Branding Myths (Matt Haig, Brand Failures )

1. If a product is good it will succeed (Beta VCRs) 2. Brands more likely to succeed (90% of brands die in 5 years80% after introduction) 3. Big companies always have better brands (New Coke) 4. Strong brands are built on advertising (ads can support but not build the brand) 5. New will always sell (see #2) 6. Strong brands protect products (reality: strong products protect brands)

(David DAlessandro, Brand Warfare ) Stupid: Focus Like A Laser 1. Its the Brand,
2. Create Co-dependency 3. Great Messages, Bucking BroncosDont let go! 4. Fight for Great Advertising 5. Sponsorships: Remember P.T. Barnum 6. Dont Confuse Sponsorship with the Spectacle 7. Crush Scandal: 10 seconds can destroy a century 8. Make Distributors Slaves to the Brand 9. Use Your Brand to Lead to A Better Place 10. The Brand Is Strategic: Starts with the CEO

10 Killer Branding Rules

We Can Be/Are Good At This! (In fact, this should be a natural)

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Focus and Simplicity: Go Gold Codependency: Choice Riders Dependent= TOD Great Messages, Bucking BroncosDont let go! Fight for Great AdvertisingMetro Rapid Billboards Sponsorships: Remember P.T. Barnum Dont Confuse Sponsorship with the Spectacle Crush Scandal: 10 seconds can destroy a century Make Distributors Slaves to the Brand Use Your Brand to Lead to A Better Place The Brand Is Strategic: Starts with the CEO

Branding Theory Applied: Dos

Be clear and consistent Choose branding that resonates Communicate a shared vision Create a community Lead with brand as symbol of vision Get CEO/Board Buy-In

Branding Theory Applied: Donts

Dont overpromise Dont undermine brand with service decisions later Dont forget to coordinate brand strategies (rail, bus, BRT) but Dont overcomplicate Dont be afraid of losing a little community control Dont let go Dont go/stay on vacation during crisis

Suggested Branding Matrix: Interrelated Techniques

Integrated Strategy Is Essential
Strategy Brand Customer Service values Ease/Use criteria Benefits % of Ridership Increase

Vehicle Design Station Design Signage Logo/color scheme Maps, brochures, etc. Advertising, DM, website etc.



Most successful systems have strong branding Largest System Performance Impacts:
Capacity (Vehicles + Frequency + Route Speed) Speed and Acceleration Reliability/On Time Performance

Largest System Design Impacts

Branding Vehicle Styling Cleanliness/Maintenance/Advertising Policy Driver/Customer Service Courtesy

The Brand Invites Em, But Performance Keeps Em

FTA Document:
Characteristics of BRT for Decision Makers


BRT Toolkit

Publication tools for BRT planning WS-CS and industry resources Excellent outreach videos on branding
Simple Solutions on Curitiba BTI video on Curitiba, Bogot

and Brisbane

Thank you