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Commonwealth Games: user messages surge by 38% with National Rail

How did we assist passengers in travelling to and from the 2022 Commonwealth Games?
August 22, 2022

With 72 participating nations and ticket sales of 1.2 million, the 2022 Commonwealth Games were one of the biggest ever. Hosted in Birmingham, public transport was a key player in ensuring the games went off without a hitch. As well as helping get people to and from the various event locations, we wanted to ensure that we were also assisting locals with their regular everyday journeys in and around the city centre.

What we did

At Zipabout, our goal was to give passengers a real-time information service that would guide them safely to and from the games.

By allocating a unique QR code and link to every individual event – and its correlating UK train station – we gave passengers the ability to check live train departures, watch their regular journeys and keep an eye on any travel disruption on the go, all via Messenger.

Each unique QR code gave users the opportunity to instantly access all the travel information they needed from National Rail Enquiries and local train operators – without downloading an app. From disruption alerts and crowding data to departure times and multi-leg journey planning, this level of personalisation resulted in an improved passenger experience across the board.  

We also wanted to give locals the same opportunity for seamless travel. As Birmingham welcomed crowds with open arms, we understood that people still had to go about their day-to-day lives and continue travelling to work, university or into town. To ensure we were reaching as many people as possible, we massively ramped up our social activity, encouraging Birmingham locals to plan their journeys in advance using our personalised travel information and navigate any potential disruption caused by the impact of the Games.

The impact

Passengers were able to travel confidently and safely thanks to minute-by-minute information on crowding hotspots and timetable changes.

Over the period of the Commonwealth Games, we saw a 38% uplift in messages sent to users, a 26% rise in passengers using our services and 40% more journeys planned to and from Birmingham New Street. We also experienced a 102% increase in Twitter visibility – the channel we used to amplify our QR codes.

Zipabout sends out more than a million personalised journeys each month. Further work with the University of Birmingham to calibrate and enhance our prediction capabilities means that Zipabout remains the only company that can accurately predict crowding on public transport systems – an ideal partner for event organisation and local authorities.