Dialogue marketing for new citizens



Several studies have shown that significant changes in life (such as moving or retiring) often result in behaviour changes, including in the choice of transport mode. People in these situations are more likely to respond to soft policy measures, which means that information and incentives regarding changes are more likely to be noticed and used. Public transport marketing is more successful when it takes the needs and expectations of the target group into account as well as – as is common in mobility management – situational and spatial starting points.

There have been several studies on how to influence new citizens’ choice of transport mode; the one that was evaluated best was a pilot project on dialogue marketing for new citizens in the city of Munich in 2006. This project showed that after a dialogue marketing campaign for new citizens, their share of trips taken by public transport was 7.6% higher than that of the control group.

New research primarily needs to focus on determining what the main components supporting the switch to public transport are: Personalized information, professional counselling interviews, or general public transport information? This knowledge is vital to extend this approach into practice as an efficient marketing strategy for new citizens cannot be developed without it.

Aims of the project:

The project aimed to answer the following research questions:

Which mechanisms of action lead to behaviour changes in the choice of transport mode after moving?

Which effect do informational and dialogue components in new citizen marketing have respectively?

Which transport effects and economic effects do new citizen marketing campaigns have?

Project contents and structure:

For the project, we gathered and summarized the findings of environmental, health, and mobility psychology on behaviour change. By researching literature and interviewing transport companies in Germany, we systemized approaches to new citizen marketing and the current state of practice.

On this basis, model campaigns were developed. We and the practice partners then agreed on three campaign types which had previously been used in the cities of Munich, Halle an der Saale and Frankfurt am Main since February 2008. In order to do so, the campaign types were randomly assigned to 3600 new citizens. The campaign types differed in their scope and content. While type 1 was a “standard package” comprising basic information (city map with public transport routes, route map, tariff information), type 2 was simply a “service map”. This service map gave new citizens access to a free one-week public transport ticket through a personal consultation and dialogue and also allowed them to order selected informational material on public transport, cycling, and car sharing. Type 3 was a combination of the first two types.

Approximately two months after the campaigns, face-to-face interviews and phone interviews were conducted with the participants of the three groups and with a control group of another 3600 new citizens who did not receive any information.


The study has shown that the intervention type “dialogue only” (type 2) motivates new citizens to use public transportation but reduces the share of walking trips. The intervention type “information only” (type 1) slightly lowers the share of motorized private transport (MPT) and trips taken by foot. The MPT share of those who received both dialogue and information (type 3) decreased most while the share of cycling and public transport in this group increased.

This shows that a new citizen package comprising both standardizes informational material and the option of receiving personalized advice significantly motivates new citizens to make the shift from MPT to environmentally friendly transport modes.


ISB-Institut für Stadtbauwesen und Stadtverkehr der RWTH Aachen, Bamberg, S. (2009).

Evaluation von Dialogmarketing für Neubürger. Abschlussbericht im Auftrag des BMVBS. FoPS Projekt Nr. 70.0795/2007. Aachen.

Breaking habitualised car use with a 'Soft-Policy' measure? - Effects of a dialogue marketing campaign on new citizens' daily mobility. Vortrag auf der European Transport Conference (ETC), 5.10.2009, Noordwijkerhout, Niederlande.

Effects of a dialogue marketing campaign on new citizens' daily mobility. Vortrag auf der European Conference on Mobility Management (ECOMM), 6.5.2010, Graz, Austria.


Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVBS), Forschungsprogramm Stadtverkehr, FE project 70.0795/2006

Project duration:

March 2007 – February 2009

Project partners:

Institute of Urban and Transport Planning, RWTH Aachen University (project management)
Institut für empirische und angewandte Sozialforschung e.V. (Priv.-Doz. Sebastian Bamberg), Justus Liebig University Gießen
omniphon, Leipzig

Practice partners:

Münchener Verkehrsgesellschaft (MVG),
City of Munich
Hallesche Verkehrs-AG (HAVAG)
ivm GmbH (Integriertes Verkehrsmanagement Region Frankfurt RheinMain),
RMV (Rhine-Main transport association),
traffiQ (local public transport association, Frankfurt am Main)

Contacts at the ISB:

Reyhaneh Farrokhikhiavi, M. A., Dipl.-Ing. Armin Langweg