For many people, accessing transit apps and digital interfaces is simple. The experience for older adults or people with physical impairments can be a different story. Although access to information has improved services across the country, obstacles still exist to technological adoption, especially for public transit agencies who need to serve the needs of the entire population in its community. There remains a segment of the population who resist any new technology, even if the user experience and interface has been designed for ease of use. There also exists a segment of the population who may be unable to use digital interfaces, such as older adults, or physical impairment to vision or other physical conditions.
In today’s digital age, it is still necessary to deliver IVR-based phone systems as a communication avenue for public transit agencies. Short for interactive voice response, IVR is an analog-based system that makes use of telephone infrastructure to deliver the necessary information to people that lifts the barriers to accessibility.
CDTA is a public-benefit corporation overseeing public transportation in the Capital District of New
When the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) modernized their legacy fare system, Enghouse Transportation was chosen to create the IVR system to serve the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) customer base.
The objective was to provide top-quality transportation services to all customers, including customers who are not proficient in the English language. RIPTA recognized the value of IVR for the LEP community to ensure that their customer base would have meaningful access to information. The IVR system would be a valuable tool to streamline incoming calls and improve the experience for the contact center.
According to the 2015 ACS data, Rhode Island’s total population of non-English speaking households is over 21.4% of that total population. Of the non-English speaking households, the top two languages are Spanish (52.9%) and Portuguese (14.7%). Anticipating future needs, RIPTA built the IVR system to support languages that represents the growing demographic of their community, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Chinese, Cambodian, and Laotian. York, which includes Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, and Saratoga counties. We provide short- and long-distance transit, whether someone takes the bus for a 10-minute ride within Albany or a 45-minute intercity journey. We also run STAR, a paratransit program that offers transportation alternatives to people who have difficulty using the CDTA fixed-route bus system because of a disability or impairment.
Coordinating all the design requirements and building it to be inclusive of eight languages to serve the LEP community is nothing less than a monumental task. Enghouse Transportation partnered with MediaVoice, an Enghouse Interactive company to perform the translations and voice recordings based on RIPTA’s specifications. MediaVoice provides superior quality recordings for any platform, any application. MediaVoice helped create an image for RIPTA’s audio persona that helps craft an overall image of support for its customer base. Testing with the community was a critical component of this project. The testers were extremely positive about how the system made the customer feel really “seen”.
“We’re really proud of our successful joint project with Enghouse Transportation. Customer experience is vital on calls. We specialize in an IVR experience that feels natural for the customer, which is critical to the success of the customer experience.”
– Barbara Hawkins-Scott, Head of Audio Branding Practice at MediaVoice
IVR holds great potential in helping with call center volumes and reducing costs for public transit agencies. In just its first year of implementation, RIPTA has built a communication system that serves its community of LEP customers.
“Enghouse Transportation’s IVR product has been great for covering the needs of the many languages spoken in Rhode Island and to serve those in our community with visual impairments. It is a 24-hour-a-day alternative to our website and Wave mobile app that helps with call volumes when our service center is closed.”
– Kevin M Perry, Principal Analyst at RIPTA
The importance of IVR and the growing use and continued need for IVR across transit agencies in the country is definitely a positive. Enghouse Transportation is so proud to offer a comprehensive IVR program in addition to other transit and paratransit solutions.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to bring IVR communications to your transit agency, schedule a personalized walkthrough to see the impact our software can have on your business. Contact us today.