We had a nice discussion yesterday about social networking and transport at SPUR in San Jose (you can get my presentation at that site). Among the messages I took home:

  • We should use existing social networking applications to collect information and data, we don’t always need to create our own apps. The example of mining twitter data to better understand transport conditions (done in a Texas city as part of their Regional Transport Plan) was given as good practice;
  • Several attendees were working for government agencies and they summarized some of the problems getting their agencies to adopt innovative new ideas like social networking … it’s not always because these agencies are conservative … but it is a complex problem;
  • Importantly, if agencies don’t get ahead of social networking there is danger that others will develop social networking sites and the agencies will lose an important opportunity to communicate with their customers/ the public;
  • How do you actually get transport agencies to do good things (e.g. bike lanes, bus lanes, etc.) and social networking … really getting things done?

This doesn’t really do justice to the interesting conversation we had, but gives a little of the flavor. I’m looking forward to more discussion tomorrow in San Francisco, here’s a link to the details for the San Francisco SPUR event.