Use of local "ambassadors" to guide Public Transport users

innovation photo
Use of local "ambassadors" to guide Public Transport users
  • Senior citizens as Public Transport Ambassadors, Belgium.

(ELTIS (2014c), Senior citizens become Public Transport Ambassadors (Belgium). Available:

  • Ambassadors and Accessibility Trips, Docklands Light Railway, London.

ELTIS (2015b), Ambassadors and Accessibility Trips. Docklands Light Rail. London, UK. Available:

  • Familiarizing older people with public transport, Breda

ELTIS (2015a), Familiarizing older people with public transport in Breda (The Netherlands). Available:

Johan, J. (2012), “Public Transport Ambassadors and the Travel Desk”, 19th ITS World Congress, 22-26 October 2012, Vienna, Austria


Local mothers as ambassadors for families travelling with children.

Momaboard, (2016), Momaboard: Vacation Ideas and Travel Guides for Families. Available:

The initiator of such an innovative solution is usually a public authority (public initiative) or a business (private initiative). They are usually the ones who design and in the most cases implement the innovation. However, the innovation can only be realized by involving specific service users, as they are the ones who assume the ‘ambassador’ role but also are the addresses of the ambassadors’ activity. Firstly, the ambassadors should be recruited e.g. via media or word-of-mouth advertisements and then they should be trained and be known to the public. After the first period of ambassadors’ training, future training will be upon demand, as if another concept is introduced in the Public Transport systems (e.g. e-ticket), ambassadors should be trained about it. In addition, experience has shown that older people learn best from their peers, so it is recommended the ambassadors be at the same age with the focus group’s age.

The innovation is relatively easy to implement, as it doesn’t involve too novel technological resources or legal regulations (doesn’t have legal requirements, doesn’t occupy space, doesn’t involve infrastructure development) and can be implemented at a very low cost. In addition, it can be implemented in parts or in an entire city, as everyone is a potential beneficiary. The critical factor associated with this innovation is ambassadors. Considerable effort is required in order to attract the correct people, recruit them and train them on using and disseminating best practices. However, it can be implemented over a short period of time and once it has been implemented for the first time, it will be fairly easy to run it again in the future, and even adapt it to other user groups. Specific emphasis should be placed on marketing the initiative and on developing qualitative material and training methods. The only shortcoming is that its results might not be immediately noticeable.

The use of "ambassadors" in Public Transport has been increasingly popular in recent years. A number of ambassadors are recruited, debriefed or/and trained on the specifics of a service. After that, they are commissioned with spreading out the good practice to their peers. There are a lot of paradigms of this sort in groups of pupils, older people, etc.

The use of “ambassadors” in the entire service provision spectrum and specifically in Public Transport is a practice that has been increasingly popular in recent years. Initially, a number of ambassadors are recruited. Afterwards, they are least debriefed on the specifics of a service and sometimes trained on the proper use of it. Finally, they are commissioned with spreading out the good practice to their peers. We have seen paradigms of this sort in groups of pupils, young people, older people, etc. The “ambassadors” usually work for this scheme for free or at very low cost. Sometimes they are compensated for their travel or given bonuses, such as free Public Transport tickets. Mombassadors, in specific, are moms who live in cities around the world and are recruited to assist visiting families with children in planning their itineraries. The added value of this service lies in that mombassadors combine their knowledge as residents and their experience as parents. The service is offered upon a low cost fee. This innovation is very likely to be successful in attracting more Public Transport customers at limited extra costs in any European city.

  • Marketing and promotion, customer care
  • Societal involvement, new entrepreneurship

General concept
  • Attracting more customers
  • Increase customer satisfaction

  • Better experience
  • Improve accessibility
  • Improving customer orientation
  • Performance orientation

  • Individual empowerment
  • Population ageing
  • Social innovation

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