Second-year marketing students are using their final class project to help improve Windsor’s transit system.
The project consists of a survey that was conducted via social media last month, asking users to provide feedback on their experiences using Windsor’s transit.
Marketing professor Justina Ciarlariello said the idea to help Transit Windsor started from the perspective of wanting to make the final project relevant to students.
“Knowing our students are big Transit Windsor riders, I thought that was a good fit. When I reached out to Transit Windsor, it was really good timing for them,” Ciarlariello said.
Transit Windsor has recently started moving forward on a master plan created in 2019. The plan involves improving transit services to increase usage. Some goals include increasing passenger access to transit information and having more transit buses working at once.
The process of creating the survey involved a lot of communication between the students and the organization.
“We have Transit Windsor come in, they do a presentation of what their needs are. We as a class determine what the survey objectives need to be, and then the students go off into their groups. They put together a survey for themselves, I take that and amalgamate it to one master survey,” said Ciarlariello.
With 29 groups of students all working on the project, the combined effort allowed the class to get over 3,000 responses.
Ciarlariello said the process of collaborating with Transit Windsor for the project has been great, crediting Transit Windsor sales and marketing manager David Calibaba for his help.
“David Calibaba is the main resource that I was working with there, and him and I worked together to narrow down to ‘These are our top three objectives, these are the questions that we need to get answered in this survey.’”
Ciarlariello also said the information gathered in the survey has benefits beyond giving students a chance to apply what they’ve learned.
“Just having that data available to them will allow them to make the best decisions to benefit the service for everyone in the community.”
One example she cited was a question addressing problems transit users experienced reaching certain locations by bus. Having these answers enabled Transit Windsor leaders to find solutions.
As for future plans around projects such as this, Ciarlariello also said she aims to continue the relationship with Transit Windsor.
“It’s not like we’re going to solve all of Transit Windsor’s problems with one survey. Maybe a couple years down the road, we reach out to them and they say ‘Oh, I’m so glad. We’ve got X, Y and Z problems now we’d like to survey the students on.’”
To those interested in taking Ciarlariello’s class, she said potential students need to recognize the value of research in the world of marketing.
“In the real world of marketing, there is not a decision that is made without looking at data. I think data is and will continue to be such a big part of marketing.”
- Tyler Clapp