TravelBot: Utilising social media dialogue to provide journey disruption alerts

Paul Gault, Caitlin D. Cottrill*, David Corsar, Peter Edwards, John D. Nelson, Milan Markovic, Mujtaba Mehdi, Somayajulu Sripada

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Use of social media in the public transport sector is rapidly increasing, driven by both passenger demand, and recognition by transport operators of the insights that social media enables. This paper explores the potential for utilising social media (specifically, the Twitter platform) to provide personalised information to public transport passengers, drawing from lessons learned from related studies. The Tweeting Travel study developed an understanding of the types of dialogues that can unfold on social media between passengers and a simulated travel advice system and then used this to shape development of the TravelBot system. This system provided users with real-time passenger information, including details of relevant travel disruptions that were automatically extracted from social media posts. A user evaluation of a TravelBot trial is presented, findings of which showed that participants highly valued the service and the information it provided, with most indicating a strong desire for the system to continue operation. These findings reveal the potential offered by social media for more personalised communication between public transport operators and their passengers, as well as indicating an efficient method by which this communication may be enabled.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100062
JournalTransportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Early online date15 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note


The research described here is supported by the award made by the RCUK Digital Economy programme to the dot.rural Digital Economy Research Hub; award reference: EP/G066051/1. We extend our grateful thanks to the participants who have contributed to the studies throughout, and to the industry partner FirstGroup plc for their support.


  • social media
  • twitter
  • travel disruption
  • real-time passenger information
  • passenger-operator dialogue


Dive into the research topics of 'TravelBot: Utilising social media dialogue to provide journey disruption alerts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this