Don’t miss the new arrival from MRS. Get on board to hear the latest research and insight that will shape the future of travel, transport and mobility.

Take a deep dive into the macro trends shaping new mobility business models, uncover passenger and commuter attitudes and behaviours, showcase cutting edge customer experience research  projects and share some excellent examples of successful behavioural change programmes.

Hear how:

  • Virgin Holidays is taking inspiration from software development and embracing agile innovation to improve customer experience
  • P&O Ferries is using virtual reality as part of a mixed methodology approach to understand and improve on-board customer experience
  • London North Eastern Railway is implementing a brave behaviour change programme to grow its customer journeys
  • Southeastern Railway is using a three step mixed methodology approach to customer journey mapping to pinpoint key touchpoints to improve CX
  • TfL and Scope are undertaking research to highlight and improve the travel experience for people with physical and hidden disabilities
  • TUI is fusing database and survey data to create fantastic hybrid segmentation which is driving marketing activities

With further contributions from: Heathrow, Transport for Greater Manchester, Highways England, Transport Focus and the Rail Delivery Group


Radisson Blu Edwardian
9-13 Bloomsbury Street,London,WC1B 3QD

No Biography Available

09.00-09.30 Registration & coffee

09.30-09.50 Extended opening remarks from the Chair

Marty Herbert, Director, Customer Advisory, KPMG UK

Getting people out of their cars and on to the train

Virgin Trains East Coast wanted to understand how to grow their customer journeys. They firstly needed to identify the biggest barriers to taking the train and then tackle the multifaceted ‘affordability’ issue. Hear how behaviour change research provided confidence to make a bold marketing move which resulted in increased growth of over 5%pt share vs car travel year on year.

  • Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative research, to understand the different dimensions of price
  • Improving customers’ perceptions of the cost of train travel
  • Building a tool kit of behaviour change interventions

Annabel Wren, Associate, Incite

Clare Marks, Head of Research & Insight, London North Eastern Railway

 (formally Virgin Trains East Coast)

Unpicking changing customer priorities guiding travel choices and experiences

Transport Focus is keen to understand changing trends, needs and expectations of rail passengers.   This paper will present a story using new insights from the National Rail Passenger Survey & other surveys around how changing patterns in the workplace, and changing priorities for how to make the most of travel time, are having an impact not only on the practical needs of commuters and business travellers, but also their emotional needs while travelling. 

Sinéad Jefferies, Consultant, Watermelon

Ian Wright, Head of Insight, Transport Focus


10.40-11.10 PANEL: The future of mobility

A lively panel discussion led by Tim Sander, Director, BVA BDRC on shaping and responding to new mobility drivers and requirements and the role of different players in the future travel landscape.

Panelists to be announced

11.10-11.30 Morning refreshments

Implementing, monitoring and evaluating effective travel demand management and travel behaviour change programs

Australia is currently home to some of the worlds most pioneering and innovative (TDM) programmes that are revolutionising how cities keep moving during periods of immense pressure or change. This session will share the results and lessons learnt from groundbreaking Travel Demand Management  programmes including the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Metropolitan Melbourne Network Impact Management plan and Sydney CBD Travel Choices programs.

  • Changing the behaviour of drivers and altering peak hour car movements in one of the world’s most iconic and busy cities
  • Delivering a robust and responsive  tracking monitoring and evaluation program for continuous  evaluation and improvement

Rose McArthur – Technical Principal, Travel Demand Management, Mott MacDonald


11.55-12.20 Restricted access: ensuring mobility for all

More than one in ten UK adults are affected by physical mobility issues. Working in partnership with Scope, Opinium created an innovative programme of research utilising daily video diaries, journey mapping, geo-tagging and qualitative interviews designed to uncover the physical and attitudinal barriers faced by disabled people, explore the impact these restrictions had on their day-to-day lives and to inform future transport policy development.

  • Examining how to improve customer journeys for people with mobility issues
  • Sharing achievements and set-backs from the project
  • How this insight is being used to drive long-term change

Wez Eathorne, Research Director, Opinium

Kapila Perera, Head of Research and Impact, Scope


12.20-12.50 Tackling sensitive and ‘hidden’ issues on the London Underground

In this session TfL will share a programme of important work it is undertaking to address sensitive issues and change social norms on the underground. It will focus on two case studies.

Improving the journey experience for thousands of Londoners with hidden disabilities

The ‘Please offer me a seat’ badge and card scheme was designed by TfL to help those with hidden disabilities and conditions travel more comfortably and confidently on the London transport network.  To ensure the scheme would lead to positive behavior change research was needed to trial the POMAS scheme in a real-world environment, before implementation.

Emma Johns, Associate Director

Alison Gibbs, Insight Manager, TfL


Preventing suicides on London underground: speaking the unspeakable

Reducing the number of suicides that occur on London Underground is an important goal for TfL and requires an evidence-based, network wide prevention strategy. But how do you find the right way to talk to the public about suicide, without making the problem seem more widespread than it is, confusing customers, or risking reputational damage. This case study, will examine a fresh approach taken to tackle the unique challenges of this sensitive project.

Chloe De Schryver, Research Manager, 2CV

Martin Bendrey, Programme Lead For Suicide Prevention, TfL


12.50-13.50 Lunch

13.50-14.15 P&O Ferries case study: embracing virtual reality as part of a mixed methodology approach to understanding onboard CX

P&O Ferries wanted to gain a deep understanding of the onboard Dover to Calais experience and how this could be improved.  Virtual Reality exposed an additional rich source of untapped insight. Hear how VR, alongside online quant surveys, a value needs segmentation, onboard exit interviews and an online community, provided detailed feedback and helped to unpick the perceptions of P&O’s passengers.

Michaela Murphy, Head of Customer Experience, P&O Ferries

Dr Ali Goode, Cognitive Scientist, Gorilla in the Room

Helen Bailey, Managing Director, Aviatrix


14.15-14.40 How agile innovation enabled virgin holidays to improve its LGBT+ customer journey in 5 days…

Equality rights and customer inclusion is fast becoming a business priority in the travel industry.  Agile innovation processes are particularly valuable in adapting to cultural change and fast evolving customer needs. In this session Verve will discuss how a customer centric innovation programme, drawing inspiration from problem solving techniques in software development, helped Virgin Holidays to come up with creative solutions to improve LGBT customers’ booking journey.

  • Outlining Virgin’s journey from identifying customer needs to gaining business buy-in and delivering quick win solutions
  • Examining how a Hackathon innovation approach can deliver creative solutions to business challenges facing the travel industry
  • Demonstrate how “customer research plug-ins” can support employee ideation and deliver commercially viable, customer validated ideas

Charlotte Paris, Director, Verve

Sonia Benn, Senior Project Manager, Virgin Holidays

14.40-15.05 Southeastern Railway case study: mapping the customer journey

Having modelled the entire customer experience into a seven-stage journey map, Southeastern needed to understand priority areas as defined by passengers, both emotionally as well as rationally, that will become the key focus to improve performance. This session will examine the 3 stage approach was applied to meet the objectives:

  • A qualitative ethnographic study where real passengers recorded their in-the-moment experience with touchpoints and emotions in an app-based diary
  • Qualitative discussion groups that included image-based emotion elicitation techniques
  • A quantitative online survey amongst Southeastern users with a preferred choice technique to determine the priority order of focus

Tim Sander, Director On the Move Division, BVA BDRC

Howard Tarr, Head of Insights, Southeastern Railway

15.05-15.20 Afternoon refreshments

15.20-15.45 TUI UK case study: fusing database and survey data to create a fantastic “hybrid segmentation” in the travel category

Attitudinal segmentations have been the go-to approach for market segmentation since the 1970s. But the data world has changed, and many companies now have rich databases at the centre of their marketing activities. So how do you get the best of both worlds? The answer is hybrid segmentation: the fusion of attitudinal survey data with database variables relating to transactions and (geo) demographics. This case study will illustrate how hybrid segmentation is driving marketing activities at TUI - one of the world’s leading travel companies.

Dr. Leigh Morris, Managing Director, Bonamy Finch

Paul Jackson, Head of Advanced Analytics, Bonamy Finch

Karen Bilsborough, Senior Customer Insight Manager, TUI

15.45-16.10 Understanding travellers’ response to information provision during disruption

Social media is a two-edged sword when dealing with unplanned disruptions, delays and congestion.  Operators can communicate issues instantly to passengers but similarly passengers can vent their frustrations instantly and publically which can cause reputational damage.

This session will examine ‘in the moment’ insights from consumers experiencing disruption and travellers’ satisfaction with the information provided by train operators.

  • Analysing key findings from the pilot and main stages and updating on current survey activity
  • How are research findings being used to optimise social media communications?

Rob Sheldon, Managing Director, Accent

Marc Horrex, Customer Insights Research, Rail Delivery Group

16.10-17.05 Cycle triggers qualitative research

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has an aim to significantly increase take-up in cycling and to make cycling a safe, viable and attractive alternative to car travel. This session will explore how the research uncovered the various stages of cycling engagement, the common barriers and enablers to cycling and the key tipping points through which these factors can positively or negatively exert their influence.

Zoe Cooper, Human Factors Specialist, Mott MacDonald

Mary-Jane Sturt, Research Officer, Transport for Greater Manchester


Can behavioural science save lives? exploring driver perceptions and behaviour around breakdowns

Breakdowns resemble a fight or flight situation where drivers have only a matter of seconds to make life changing decisions under immense pressure. Highways England wanted to understand how people react in the event of a breakdown to reduce the number of kills and serious injuries (KSIs). A mixed method approach rooted in behavioural science was used to understand the decision-making process in this context.

  • Uncovering the underlying psychological process behind drivers’ responses during breakdown situations
  • Designing a quantitative online survey based on implicit tools that replicate decision making under time pressure
  • Key recommendations for campaigns and messages to communicate breakdown safety to drivers

Will Folan-Conray, Research & Client Partnership Director, Irrational Agency

Pankti Shah, Behavioural Economist, Irrational Agency

Manjit Galsinh, Acting Head of Insight, Highways England


Encouraging a behavioural shift in surface access mode choice for Heathrow’s customers

Travel to and from airports is an area where people plan journeys carefully and have a range of options available. It’s a more emotionally involved journey than many others, with greater consequences when things go wrong. Heathrow and Transport Focus wanted to understand more about people’s behaviour and specifically their attitudes towards coach, a desirable mode for growth.

  • Understanding how people choose their mode of transport to an airport
  • Unpicking how people compare public transport and private transport
  • Discussing how likely it is that behaviour can be influenced

Hannah Coe, Senior Research & Insight Manager - Commercial, Heathrow Airport

Louise Coward, Insight Manager, Transport Focus

17.05 End of conference

Additional Information

Get the latest MRS news

Our newsletters cover the latest MRS events, policy updates and research news.