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National transportation marketing survey


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National transportation marketing survey an evaluation of the role of marketing in transit organizations
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Cronin, J. Joseph
Hill, John
National Urban Transit Institute (U.S.)
University of South Florida. Center for Urban Transportation Research
United States. Dept. of Transportation. University Research Program
Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR)
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Local transit--United States--Marketing   ( lcsh )
Local transit--United States--Management   ( lcsh )
Local transit--United States--Public opinion   ( lcsh )
letter   ( marcgt )

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oclc - 32706881
usfldc doi - C01-00250
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National transportation marketing survey :
b an evaluation of the role of marketing in transit organizations
Tampa, Fla
Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR)
c 1994 December
Local transit--United States--Marketing
Local transit--United States--Management
Local transit--United States--Public opinion
Cronin, J. Joseph.
Hill, John.
2 710
National Urban Transit Institute (U.S.)
University of South Florida. Center for Urban Transportation Research.
United States. Dept. of Transportation. University Research Program.
Mustard, William A.
t Center for Urban Transportation Research Publications [USF].
4 856


Nationa l Transportation Marketing Survey An Evaluation of the Role of Marketing in Transit Organizations Principal Investigators : William A. Mustard J. Joseph Cronin, Jr., Phd John Hill, MBA Florida State University December, 1994 Florida Institute for Marketing Alternative Transportation Tallahassee, Florida 32306-3037


RPAC.R 1 NU 1 NV .,. #3 1 2 .... 13. NU T I-93FSU3.1 I I P r ojects of FIMAT-The F l orida Inst i tute for Marke t ing Atternative Transportat ion ... . ,. !: A. Mustard, Di recto r FIMAT I J J oseph Cronin, Jr. PhD. FSU John S. H ill MBA, FSU I Transportation COII&go Of Susiness Tallahassee. Fklt'ida 32306 1 u .. Office of Research and Specia l P rograms October, 1993 December 1994 U.S D epartment of Transportation, Washi ngton D.C. 20690 14. ... S u pported by a grant from the U S. Department of T ransportatio n, Univers tty Research Ins titute Program Little Documented evidenoe exists relative to the marketing activities employed by transit managers. This report has three primary objectives. To Assess t he Current Uti lization of Marl

': ... The results discussed in this report were generated from the data gathered in a mail survey of transit managers. The survey was delivered to 820 individuals across the United States. The response rate was 23 percent with 43 percent of that total from managers in public transit organizations, with the remainder being from a variety of specialized transportation agencies (mostly governmental-related transportation agencies). The organizations represent small and large market areas in approximately the same proportions as found in the population of the country. The resul ts indicate that only about one-half(Sl percent) of transit organizations have a "marketing" department and typically the "marketing" budget is either substantial (i.e. in excess of $500,000 or 20 percent of the responding organizations) or relatively small (i.e. $30,000 or less 33 percent of the responding organizations). In large part this reflects two characteristics of transit organizations ; (I) they tend to be very large metro area public transit organizations or very small local organizations such as car or van pooling agencies, and (2) transit organizations tend to embrace marketing either whole-heartedly (with commensurate resources) or not at all. The marketing function also does n ot appear to be well organized in transit firms. Sixty percent of the respondents reported that their organization does not have a position which could accurately be described as a Director of Marketing. In fact, nearly one-half of the organizations (47 percent) reported that the responsibility for marketing was not even concentrated within a single position. However, one positive note did emerge relative to the organization of the marketing function in transit organizations. That is, the individua l deemed most responsible for "marketing" appeared to be highly qualified -92 percent had at least a four year degree and 41 percent had the ir degree in marketing or a related field. The results also indicate that the "marketing" person had substantial experience -almost half ( 48.5) percent had ten years or more experience with transit organizations and three or more years with their current organization ( 40 percent) In addition, 64 5 percent of the respondents indicated that their organization did have a formal marketing plan which typically was reviewed annually. Unfortunately, the results oft he survey also indicate that the survey respondents do not have a well grounded understanding of marketing A series of six questions designed to te st their marketing IQ" indicates that these individuals subscribe to several common misperceptions about marketing and i ts applicability in transit o rganizations. However the respondents also indicate that they would be receptive to additional marketing training and that they would consider the


establishment of a promotional materials management for transit organizations to be a positive step the. industry. ln terms of the specific marketing practices of transi t organizations, the following trends were observed: Demographics are typically used to segment the market Word of mouth is the most frequently used fonn of advertising Newspaper advertising aod PSA's are also frequently used for advertising Nearly all transit organizations use infonnation brochilres for advertising On-site information booths are the most commonly used promotional tool Free rides and other specific programs (monthly passes, etc.) are also used Employer based marketing efforts are used by more than half of the respondents Radio is considered the most effective advertising media Discounts were considered to be the most effective promotional tool Employer based promotions were considered to be moderately successful Providing informati on was considered the# I promotional objec tive Forty-two percent sell ad space on their vehicles Ten percent sell ad space on their printed materials Thirty-nine percent have a customer complaint box Marketing research is infrequently undertaken Community Committees are the most frequent used to gather customer information Most transit managers suffer from common "misperceptions" about marketing 2


There is a perceived need for a promotional materials c l earinghouse Transit orgaruzaiions would make their marketing information availabl e to a clearinghouse o The preferred format for clearinghouse materials is print o Marketing consultant/researchers are the most commonly used marketing agency o Marketing service agencies/consultants are considered useful There is a perceived need for professional development seminars and a willingness to attend such sessions Marketing Planning/Strategy was considered the most needed seminar topic . . These, and oth e r issues, are discussed in greater depth in the text which follows. The complete results of the survey are presented in the Appendix which follows the text 3


INTRODUCTION Transportation managers of every description are now facing the reality of the marketing problems incurred by their organizations on a day-to-day basis. Public transit, as well as specialized transit agencies, have belatedly recognized the importance of marketing to the management of the services they offer. For too long, marketing efforts in the transit industry have been centered simply on the provision of infonnation relative to the availability of the services offered. More recently, the strategic importance ofthe marketing function has received the increasing attention of transit managers. Managers of transit organizations are increasingly investigating the advantages of becoming "market oriented." The National Urban Transit Institute (NUT!) and the Center For Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) have recognized the importance of the need to investigate the role of marketing in the management of transit organizations in their funding of this research project. The Florida Institute for Marketing Alternative Transportation (FIMA T) has undertaken this project to enhance the praCtice of marketing in public transit organizations and other transportation agenctes. The research reported has three primary objectives: To Assess the Current Utilization of Marketing Methods To Determine the Specific Marketing Educational Needs of Transit Managers To Identify How Educational Centers Can Assist in Saiisfying these Education Needs PURPOSE OF TRE STUDY Little documented evidence exists relative to the marketing activities employed by transit managers. Information concerning the educational background of those responsible for the marketing activities of transit organizations is nearly nonexistent. A review of the perceptions of transit managers relative to the effectiveness of specific marketing tactics and strategies is also needed. The desire of transit managers for additional marketing oriented information and training is also assessed. In particular, the study attempts to determine the need for a national clearinghouse for examples of the marketing activities and the planning efforts of transit organizations. The 4


willingness of trans it organizations to provide materials is assessed, as well as the format in which they would to have such information available (i.e CD ROM, Video, Computer Disk, etc.). The perceived usefulness of specific types of marketing information is also considered. Additionally, the marketing education needs of transit managers is considered. Specifically, the current level of utilization of outside marketing service firms/agencies is evaluated, along with perceptions of their usefulness. Preferences relative to locations and times for such training are evaluated, as are the managers perceptions of the usefulness of potential seminar topics. It is our hope that this research will help the sponsoring organizations better prepare to serve the needs of transit organizations throughout the remainder of the decade. RESEARCH DESIGN The design of a research instrument and the choice of a data gathering procedure are very important in survey research. The research instrument must be understood by the sample population and it must address the appropriate issues. In order to enhance the managerial relevance of the instrument used in the current study, transit managers were involved in every step of the development process. The initial set of questions was developed through a review of the academic and popular press literatures and the input of transit managers. The original instrument was then reviewed by transit managers to ensure its relevance and completeness. Modifications were made based on that review. The sample frame was drawn from the membership of the American Public Transit Association and the Association for Commuter Transportation. A random sample of I 000 was drawn from the membership list. The data was then collected over a six week period in the late summer and fall of 1994. 5


SURVEY RESULTS The following is a discussion of the data collected. In keeping with the organization of the survey instrument, the results will be discussed in the following order: General Information The Marketing Director General Marketing Information Perceptions of Marketing The Need for a Promotional Materials Clearinghouse Professional Development Activities In each section, an emphasis is placed on interpreting the relevance of the findings to the managers of transit organizations. Additionally, at each stage of the research an attempt is made to (I) assess the current level of marketing activity within transit organizations (2) determine the marketing oriented educational needs of transit managers, and (3) identifY how an education center could assist in satisfYing the educational needs of transit managers. I. GENERAL INFORMATION A. Response Rate Of the 820 deliverable surveys, the 186 which were returned represent a response rate of 23 percent. Given the length of the instrument, and the fact that the respondents were not prequalified (i.e. their panicipation was not sought before the survey was delivered), this is acceptable and quite typical for this type of research. Thus, it appears that there are no significant problems with either the sampling process or the actual sample. 6


. B. R espondents Chara c teristics 1. Organizational Type Description of Rtipoodeuts Public Tran s i t Survey Respondeuts Of the 105 Specialized Transportation Agencies, the greatest number (39) classified themselves as Transportation/Van Pooling/ Ridcshare Organizations Twenty-three of the respondent s indicated that they were employed by a l ocal, state, or federal Department of Transport ation, while 22 worked for a Trans portation Management Association (see Appendix LA2). 7 Forty-three percen t of the respondents (81) represent ed Public Transit Agencies; the remaining 57 percent (105) were classified as Specialized Transportation Agencies. The vast majority of the Public Transit Agencies (59 of the 81) classified themselves as Bus Oolx Organizations. Those so classified were approximate!):' equally dispersed across wha.t might bo termed small, medium, and large size fleets. Of the remaining firms which classified themselves as Public Transit Agencies (22), one described itself as a heavy rail organization, two were commuter rail organizations and 19 were multimodal (see Appendix I .A. I). Respondents o f Specialiud Transportation A&encies ........... ...... l'nuupowt:Mionl VHiJ1cdinp'RI6t .. 10.?)%


2. Organizational Coverage (Population Size) Forty percent of t hose who responded to the question (68), represented organizations which served populations of 1 00 000 or less. Another 30 percent (51) of the respondents were from organizations serving areas whose population was in excess of 100,000 but less than 500 ,000 15 percent (26) represent organizations whose market area has between 500 000 and I million individuals, I 0 percent ( 17) were from market areas of between I and 5 million, and 4 percent (6) had more than 5 miUion people in their market area (see Appendix. I.B.l.2) It can thus be surmised that the sample represents a cross-section of the areas served by transit systems in the United States. Distribution of Respondents Based on Population :Rt.spooses

3. Organizational Structure Slightly more than one-half ofthe respondents (51 percent) indicated that their organization has a "marketing" department. Of those with a marketing department, over one -half (51 percent) reported having I to 3 full-time employees and fully 81 percent reported having a full-time staff of 10 or less. Nearly one-half(48 percent) of those respondents who reported that their organization has a "marketing" department, indicated that they did not have part-time employees in the department. Of those organizations which were reported as having part-time employees (49 percent), the vast majority (46 percent) reported having I to 3. Thus, it is clear that the evidence suggests that marketing departments are (1) not a standard part of the organizational structure of transit organizations and (2) small. This is supported by the fact that the overwhelming majority of the respondents (63.5 percent) hold the opinion that their organization does not have enough personnel focused on marketing activities (see Appendix, 1 4. Marketing Budget Interestingly, the responses to the survey indicate that a true dichotomy exists relative to the funding of the marketing efforts of transit organizations. Over one-half ofthe respondents (51 percent) indicate that their organization's budget for "marketing" is in excess of$100,000 with 20 percent reporting a budget in exc ess of$500,000. However, almost 33 percent suggest that their budget is $30,000 or less. While this doesn 't represent a true "feast or famine" situation (a marketing budget of$100 000 can hardly be considered a "feast") it does suggest that transit organizations can probably be accurately classified as either "active" or "reluctant" marketers (see Appendix, I.E.) Responses Annual Marketing Budget <$5,000 S10,001 $301001 $50,001-$70..001-$100,00 1$200,001 >SSOO.OOO $10.000 530,000 SSO.OOO $7(\POO $100,000 5200,000 SSOO,OOO Marketing Budget


D. THE M:ARKETING DIRECTOR A. The Position Is There a Marketing Director? Have N O Markttlftg .Director .... lbvta M.arkttlrl s Dlrtdot Sixty percent of the organizations represented in the sample did not have a position which could be accurately described as a Director of Marketing Of those organizations which reported that they did not have a top level managerial position devoted to marketing, nearly one-half ( 47 percent) reported that one individual was assigned responsibility for the firm's marketing efforts as a secondary task Almost as many of the firms ( 44 percent) reported that "marketing" responsibilities were spread across various individuals. The fact tha t the majority of the organizations reported that their organization does not have a top managerial position devoted to "marketing" is indicative of the lack of recognition afforded marketing within the transit industry. The relative high number of organizations which report that the responsibility is dispersed across numerous individuals gives further evidence of the failure of transit organizations to fully embrace "marketing" as a necessary part of their managerial activities It also provides evidence of their need for additional "marketing" education (see Appendix, II. A.B.). B. Educational Background The survey responses indicate that 92 percent of the individuals deemed to be "most responsible for marketing ... have at least a four year college degree. Of those having a degree, 41 percent received their degree in Marketing or a related field (Business or Management). This suggests that those individuals responsible for the marketing activities of transit organizations are well educated. However, when combined with the findings relative to the lack of recognition afforded the position \vithin the organizational structure the results indicate that transit marketing managers need help in educating other transit managers as to the relevance of marketing within the transportation industry. The data also does not indicate whether the formal marketing education of the director was adequate for the position (See Appendix, II.C.D.). 10


Educ-ation of Persons Responsible for Marketing Activities Alia E4utaUon Othtr Admin. De g...., The survey responses also indicate that the vast majority of the individuals responsible for transit marketing efforts have participated in (I) professional development seminars (83 percent ) and (2) university level marketing courses (65 percent) A significant number (:36 percent) have a lso participated in post graduate marketing courses These results add support for the above mentioned conclusions. They also indicate the receptivity of t ransit marketers to continuing education efforts (See Appendix, ll.E.) C. T h e survey results reveal that 39% of those individuals performing marketing activities in transit organiz a tions have more than ten years of experience in marketing Another 24 5 percent have between 7 and 10 years of marketing experience However, the results also indicate t hat 40 percent of those responsible for marketing activities have b ee n involved in marketing with their current organization for three year s or less. Another 32 percent report 4 to 6 years o f marke ting experience wit h their current organization. When combined, these results seem to i ndicate that transit marketers have a significant amount of "marketing" experien ce but only a portion of it is with their c urrent transit organization. Thi s may indicate that "marketers" are being rec ruited from outside the industry. If this is in fact the case the need for further industry specific or inhouse marketing education becomes more obvious (see Appendix, II.F.G.). 11


m. GENERAL MARKETING INFORMATION A. Marketing Planning The Marketing Plan Is There a Written Marketing Pl a n ? Rave NO Wrlttta Mukcdna Pin 36% lltn't Wrl1ttfl MtrkUng fb11 ...... Almost two-thirds (64.5 percent) of tbe respondents indicated that their organization has a written marketing plan Of those whose organization has a marketing plan, 85 percent stated that t he time horizon of the plan was one year or less. Most of the organizations (33 percent) review their plan annually although the number who review the marketing plan on a quarterly basis is similar (27 percent). Interestingly a significant number of the respondents (19 percent) suggest that their organization doe s not have a fixed schedule for the review of their marketing plans (see Appendix, IU.A.B.). Segmentation Basis Respondents were asked to indicate which of a list of multiple segmentation options were used by their organization in their marketing efforts Usag e (e.g. hea"iy users light user non users) was identified as the most common basis for segmentation. Demographics (e.g age, gender, education, etc .) and geographic measures (e.g trip destinations and origins) were also identified as commonly used segmentation variables. Benefits (e.g. price, convenience etc ) and Psychographies (lifestyle variab les) were also mentioned by a significant number o f the respondents The frequency of the use of these segme ntation variables is evidence of the gro\ving sophistication of the marketing efforts of transit organizations (see Appendix, ill. C.). 12


B. Marketing Activities Advertising The respondents indicated that "word of mouth" is the most commonly used form of advertising (83 percent), followed by direct mail (71 percent), newspaper advertising (66 percent), and public service announcements (62 percent). Interestingly, the results suggested that the respondents feel that all seven of the advertising media identified (television, radio newspaper, billboards, direct mail, word of mouth, and public service announcements) "should" be greater utilized. The differences between the "current" use and the "should" use is particularly dramatic for word of mouth, direct mail, television, and public service announcements. It seems obvious that the respondents feel that transit organizations should (I) alter their distribution of advertising funds across the various media and (2) increase the overall use of advertising as a marketing tool (see Appendix, III.D.l.) Information Brochures The survey results suggest that 98 percent of transit organizations currently use information brochures as a marketing tool. Interestingly, the respondents also indicate that the reliance on this tool should be increased. The results make a strong case that transit organizations should increase their reliance on information brochures (e.g schedules, route descriptions, etc.) as a primary marketing tool (see Appendix ID.D.l). PubUc Support Sponsorship Programs Forty-three percent of the respondents indicate that their organization currently uses these programs. Again, however, they suggest that such programs should be used more frequently. (see Appendix, ID.D.I.) Pronwtions (General) On-site information booths are the most commonly utilized general promotion. Free rides, specific programs such as monthly passes, and special events are all identified by respondents as being used by more than 50 percent of the transit organizations they represent. However the results also indicate that the respondents again feel that trans i t organizations should not re l y so heavily on these marketing efforts (see Appendix, III.D.l.). 13


Employer Based Marketing Efforts (General) Employer sales calls, employer seminars and special events are currently used as a marketing tool by more than 50 percent of the organizations represented by the respondents. Once again, however, the data indicate that the respondents feel that these efforts should be used less frequen tly (see Appendix, III D l.). C. EfTediveness of Current Marketing Activities Advertising Campaigns Radio is far and away considered the most effective of the media for advertising campaigns (1.21 on a five>point scale where 1 = Effective and 5 = Ineffective), with Public Service Announcements the least effec ti ve (2 .88). In general, advertising campaigns are considered to be moderately effective (2.19 on a five>-point scale where 1 =Effective and 5 = Ineffective). These results would indicate a need for transit marketers to develop a greater knowledge of transit advertising campaigns in general, and radio specifically (see Appendix, IIT. D 2.). Programs (Overall) Specific Programs (e g. monthly passes etc.) (1. 89 on a five>-point scale where J = Effectiv e and 5 = Ineffective) and Multiple U se Discounts (1.98) are judged to be the most effective of these programs Overall these programs are also judged to be moderately effective (2. 35) Five of the six programs rated as the most effective i nvolve some sort of(discount) price appeals This suggest s a pe r ception among the respondents that price is the major determinant o f transit use It also suggests that transit managers have a limited understanding of the role of marketing (beyond price appeals) and is indicative of a need for further educational efforts (see Appendix, ill.D.2.). Employer Based Marketing Efforts Overall, employer based marketing efforts were also considered to be moderately successful (2 .31 ). However none of the specific programs were judged to be particularly effective (a range of2.27 to 2 34). Creativity in designing more effective programs is needed and this is an area on which continuing educational efforts should focus (see Appendix, III.D.2.). 14


D. Importance of Promotional Objectives Informing commuters about the services offered was considered by respondents t o be the most important objective of promotional programs (1.67 on a five-point s cale where I= Important and 5 = Unimportant) followed close l y by persuading commuters to use your service Service comparison (comparison advertising) is considered by respondents to be largely unimportant ( 4.61). Again, these responses are not indicative of a thorough understanding and appreciation of "marketing." This suggests a further area of need for potential educational efforts (see Appendix, Ill. D.3.) E. Sales of Advertising Space Forty-two percent of the respondent s indicated that their organization sells space on their transit vehicles to advertisers Ten percent indicate that space on printed materials is sold for similar purposes This again, suggests an area where additional training might benefit transit marketers in their efforts to increase revenues (see Appendix, III.E.) F. Customer Comments Thirty-nine percent of the respondents indicated that their organization has a customer comment box This does not indicate that adequate communication links hav e been established between transit organizations and their customers. Again, this is a topic that could be addressed i n professional development seminars (see Appendix, Ill .F.). G. Customer Information Gathering Techniques In the snort-term (weekly and monthly), in-person meetings are the most commonly utilized data gathering technique More formal research techniques (telephone surveys, on-board questionnaires, and focus groups) are used less frequently (annually or rarely) according to the respondents. These results indicate a need for transit managers to develop a better understanding and appreciation of the value of the various customer information gathering techniques (see Appendix, Ill.G.I) 15


H. Community Committees Sixty percent of the respondents indicated that their organization had formed Community Conunittees as a means of gathering customer information. The data suggest that the membership of such groups is relatively diverse. Regular users, local business representatives, and local goverrunent officials are the groups most frequently included on such conunittees. The data indicate that less emphasis is placed by the transit organization on ensuring that all racial, ethnic, and age groups are represented. Again, the data indicate that this is an area where additional training and educational efforts might be needed (see Appendix, ID .G.2.). IV. PERCEPTION OF MARKEUNG A series of six questions which repre sent common "rnisperceptions" about marketing were used to assess the accuracy of the respondents' perceptions of marketing management issues. Respondents were asked to indicate their level of agreement with each statement using a scale where I = Strongly Agree and 5 = Strongly Disagree. The ideal response is a 5. Each statement is reviewed separately A. 17e main objective of m(lf'keting is to increase revenues. The mean response of 3.26 indicates that, overall, the respondents neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement. In reality, the objective of marketing is to identify the needs and wants of consumers and to determine how best to satisfY those needs and wants. Increases in revenues should be an outcome of this process, but not the primary objective. The responses indicate that there is a significant amount of confusion relative to the role of marketing in transit organizations (see Appendix, ID.H.Ia). B. Transportation organizations s/l()u/d design a good, efficient service then convince people to use iL The mean response of2.24 indicates a fairly high level of agreement with the statement. Marketing's responsibility is to identifY the strategies necessary to provid e consumers with what they need and want. The above statement is an example of what is commonly known as a "product-oriented" approach to marketing; that is, build the best product and consumers will buy 16


it. It is an approach which has been found lacking and indicates a significant "mispercep ti on relative to the role of marketing (see Appendix, III.H.l.b). C. Marketing is properly part of the public relations responsibilities of transportation organizations. The mean response of 2.23 again is indicative of a high level of agreement with this statement. Marketing is simply not public relations, and is not properly part of the public relations responsibilities of transportation organizations. Again, this result is evidence of a "misperception" that transportation organizations should endeavor to correct (see Appendix, ill.H l.c ). D. Market segmentation is not a very useful strategy for transportation organizations. The mean response of 4. 04 indicates a high level of disagreement with this statement, as is desired. The value of segmentation is weU documented, therefore, the respondents responses to this statement are indicative of an appreciation for this important marketing tool (see Appendix, UI.H.l.d). E. Scheduling of service should be a responsibility of marketers. 'The mean response of 3.28 indicates that the respondents neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement. Scheduling should be based on the needs and wants of transit customers Therefore, it should be a responsibility of marketers. Again, this result is evidence of a "misperception" that transportation organizations should endeavor to correct (see Appendix m.H.l.e). F. We've got marketing down, but we just don't know how to package our services. The mean response of3.88 indicates that the respondents tended to disagree with this statement However, part of Marketing is the packaging of services. Complete disagreement was desired so the result can be considered to exhibit some evidence that the respondents do not have an adequate understanding of the role and responsibilities of marketing (see Appendix, !II.H.l.t). 17


V. THE NEED FOR A PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS CLEARINGHOUSE A. Perceptions of the Utility of a Promotional Materials Clearinghouse 2.02 Usefulness to your organhation (1 = very useful, 5 =not aJ all useful) 1.84 Willingness to supply promotional materials (1 =very willing, 5 =very resistant) 3.08 More willing if awards and incentives are offered (I = more willing, 5 =no more willing) 2.16 Willingness to supply marketing/promotional plans {1 =very willing, 5 =very resistant) 2.03 Willingness to supply results of marketing/promotional efforts (1 = very wilfing, 5 = very resistant) The results suggest that respondents believe that (1) a promotional materials clearinghouse would be useful to their organization, (2) their organization would be willing to supply promotional materials, marketing/promotional plans, and the results of their marketing/promotional efforts and (3) that awards and incentives are probably not necessary. B. Availability of Results of Marketing/Promotional Efforts The respondents indicate that the appropriate results are generally available. The rarely and never a vailable responses account for less than 20 percent of the responses Therefore, the feasibility of a promotional clearinghouse appears to be good (see Appendix, lV.B ) C. Perceptions of the Usefulness of Promotional Materials The responses indicate that all of the promotional materials listed would be useful. In particular, examples ofbrochures, fliers, and posters are considered the most useful (see Appendix, IV. C ). D. Preferred Format The respondents indicated that hard (printed) copy would be the most useful. However, only the CD ROM format appears to be considered unusabl e (see Appendix, IV.D.). 18


VI. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES A. Utilization of Service Firms/Agencies Marketing consultant/researchers and design firms were identified as the most frequently utilized of the specialty firms with business/financial advisors the least utilized. In general, the results indicate that transportation organizations freque ntly make use of"outside experts. (See Appendix V.A.) B. Usefulness of Service Firms/Agencies All of the firms were considered to be "more useful" than "not useful." Design firms, production companies, and marketing consultant/researchers were rated as the most useful (see Appendix V.B.). C. Willingness to Participate in Professional Development Seminars The mean response of I. 96 indicates that the respondents feel that transportation managers would be "willing" to participate in professional development seminars (see Appendix V C.). D. Willingness to Participate if Continuing Education Units are Offered The mean response of3.27 suggests that the respondents feel that offering continuing education units for professional development seminars will neither increase nor decrease the willingness of transportation managers to participate (see Appendix, V.D .). E Preferred Location for Professional Development Seminars The west coast was the most frequently preferred location, but this question is greatly affecte d by the distribution ofthe responses. That is, more surveys were sent to the west coast than any other location. T herefore, this preference is not unexpected. The preferred cities are Los Angles, Seattle, Chicago. New York, Washington D.C., Denver, Phoenix, Atlanta, Charlotte. (see Appendix, V.E.) F. Preferred Time of Year for Professional Development Seminars The responses do not indicate that tran spo rtation managers have a preferred time for such seminars (see Appendix, V.F.). G. Perceived Usefulness of Potential Professional Development Seminar Topics 19


Marketing Planning/Strategy was t he topic rated as the most useful. Interestingly, all of the topic listed were considered "more useful" than "not useful." Other topics deemed especially usefu l are employer based marketing, consumer behavi. or modification presentations, and marketing as applied to a specific organization's services, targeting, marketing research, performing target market stud i es performing attitudinal and impact studi e s, &nd perforrning service evaluations. (See Appendix, V.G.). H. Appropriate Daily Fee for Professional Development Seminars The mean response was $117 per day, but the largest number of respondents ( 43 percent) indicated that they perceived a fee of between $51 and $!00 appropriate (see Appendix, V H ) 20


CONCLUSION In a time when increasing the utilization of public transit options is perhaps more important than ever before, we find that there is a huge "gap" between the marketing knowledge available and its use by public transit organizations. Public transit organizations, as well as more specialized transit agencies, have belatedly recognized the importance of marketing the services they offer. Unfortunately, their marketing efforts are understaffed, undeJfun"ded, and under emphasized within their own organizations. Public transit marketers appear competent and highly educated, AND they recognize the need for a greater marketing orientation within their agencies and a need for additional marketing training and education Specifically, the findings presented herein suggest first that most public transit marketing departments are small. Typically the department has I to 3 full-time employees and a like number of part-time assistants. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents considered their staffing for marketing activities to be inadequate. Second, the marketing budget is small. Although twenty percent of the respondents indicated that their budget was in excess of$500,000 fully a third bas less than $30,000 to spend on marketing. Obviously, the vast majority of public trans i t organizations have under invested in marketing. Third, sixty percent of the respondents reported that their organization did not have a person who carried the title "Director ofMarketing." Of this sixty percent, nearly half(44 percent) reported that the responsibility was split between several individuals and most of the remaining (47 percent) reported that one person manages their marketing efforts, but as a secondary responsibility. Marketing clearly does not receive a substantial level of organizational conunitment within many transit organizations. Fourth, one of the more positive findings of the study relates to the background of the individual most responsible for marketing in the responding organizations. The overwhelming majority (92 percent) have a college degree with. 48 percent having a graduate degree or at least some graduate work, thirty-eight percent had a degree in marketing or business. Also encouraging is the fuct that 83 percent of the marketing managers had participated in Professional Development Seminars and 65 percent have bad a University level Marketing class. Clearly, most of the managers directly responsible for public transit marketing have an appropriate background. They also tend to have had substantial experience as well; 39 percent have been involved in ; 21


marketing activities for more than ten years and 60 percent have been involved in marketing in their current organizations for four or more years. Thus, the good new s > for transit organizations is that they have experienced and well trained individuals directing their marketing efforts Fifth, it also appears that a substantial amount of strategic planning occurs in transit organizations Sixty-five percent of the respondents reported that their organization has a marketing plan, typically with a one year or Jess planning horizon. Forty-two percent of the respondents suggest that their organization review quarterly or more often. While every transit organization should have a strategic plan, the fact that almost two-thirds currently embrace the concept should be encouraging for transit marketers. Sixth, in terms of specific marketing activities, most of the respondents report using segmentation strategies (89 percent), with usage being the most common (85 percent) basis used to segment the transit market. Geographic, demographic, benefit, and psychographic segmentation is also used by a substantia l number of transit organizations again indicating a degree of sophistication in their marketing efforts. In their ra tings of their curreo.t marketing efforts, radio is clearly viewed as the most effective marketing tool. Price discounts (multiple use discounts and monthly passes) are the only other programs or activities ra ted below a 2.0 on a five-point scale where 1.0 = very effective. The two most important objectives of marketing activities were clearly identified as (1) informing commuters about the service offered and (2) persuading the commuter to use the service. These are important marketing objectives, however, the responses suggest that transit organizations still do not fully comprehend the breath of marketing responsiblities. Forty-two percent of the respondents indicated that their organization sells advertising spa ce on their service vehicles, but only I 0 percent reported selling such space on their printed materials (schedules, etc.). Thirty-nine percent of the respondents reported that their organization has a customer comment bol(. In addition, more than half of the respondents reported that their organization uses a telephone survey (50 percent) or on-board questionnaires (59 percent) annually or more often. Sixty-percent of the respondents also reported that their company has formed some type of Community Committees in order to integrate the public into their planning processes. Again, the opportun i ty for additional marketing applications is clear While all of the above indicate an awareness of marketing activities, the responses to the summary also identified a major weakness in the marketing orientation of transit marketer.s. 22


Specifically, the respondents, who were transit marketers themselves, were asked to answer a series of six questions where five should have elected strong disagreement and one strong agreement. 1;he questions were designed to assess the respondents marketing IQ that is, their . understanding of marketing. The responses ranged from 2.23 to 4.04. Based on theses six items, the seventh conclusion is that the respondents do not have a well grounded understanding of marketing. Eighth, the resu lts suggest that a promotion materials clearinghouse for transit marketers would be useful, and that transit organizations would be willing to supply their promotional materials, their marketing/promotional plans, and the results of their marketing and promotional efforts. Most of the respondents indicated that such materials and plans would be available at least in part in a format that would be useful to other transit organizations. They also indicated that all types of promotional materials, plans, and result s would be of use to their organization. Their preferred format for the distribution of such information was print. The ninth area examined was related to the use of consultants and service agencies by transit organizations. The utilization of service firms and agencies was high especially for advertising marketing research, and the design and production of promotional materials The respondents indicated that such firms and agencies had proven useful in their marketing efforts. The tenth and final conclusion reached was that transit marketers are willing to participate in professional development seminars, whether continuing education units are offered or not! The preferred location for such seminars is the nearest large city --Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., Denver, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Charlotte were the most frequently mentioned in each of the nine specified regions No seasonal preference was exhibited. In terms of the topics considered useful, aU seventeen identified were considered useful to some extent. Those rated the most useful were (1) Marketing P l anning/Strategy, (2) Employer Based Marketing, (3) Consumer Behavior Modification (4) Promotion and Marketing as applied to the organizations services (a tie) (6) Targeting (7) Marketing Research Skills and Performing Target Market Studies (a tie), (9) Performing Attitudinal and Impact Studies and (10) Performing Service Evaluations. The mean daily fee considered appropriate for such a seminar was $117 In conclusion, the survey results p r esented suggest that transit marketers are well educated individuals with substantial experience who need additional resources to improve their marketing efforts. They need larger staffs, larger budgets, and more training. They are willing to attend 23


professional development seminars and would use a promotional materials clearinghouse if one was established . 24


APPENDIX l. Generafi'n(tirmatio n l 86 out of 820 Surveys were received A. The respondents represented a response rate of22.68 percent of these respondents I 43.26 percent represented Public Transit Agencies ; and of those a) 31.46 percent were Bus Only organizations which were of the following size (I) 17 86 percent; fleet size less than 50 (2) 19 64 percent; fleet size 50-100 (3) 25 percent; fleet size 101200 (4) 37.50 percent; fleet size 201 plus b) 56 percent are heavy rail only c) I. 12 percent were commuter rai l d) 10 percent were multimodal 2. 56 .74 percent represented Specialized Transportation Agencies. Specifically : a) 20.79 percent were transportation/Van pooling/RideShare Organizations b) 7.3 percent were Regional RideS hare Agencies c) 11.80 percent were Transpo rt ation Management Associations d) 0 percent wer e Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinators e) 12.36 percent were employed by a Department of Transportation f) 4 50 percent were Emp l oyee Transportation Coordinators g) 0 percent represent RuraVElderly/Transportation for Persons with Disabil i ties organizations 25


B. The distribution of the respondents based on the total population of the area serv ed by their organization was as follows; I. 40.48 percent; 100,000 orless 2 30.36 percent; 100,001 to 500,000 3. 15.48 percent; 500,001 to 1,000,000 4. 10.12 percent; 1 ,000 0001 to 5,000,000 5 3 57 perce n t; 5,000,001 plus C The distribution of the respondents based on the square miles in the area served by their organization was as follows: 1. 31.30 percent; I 00 or l ess 2 23.48 percent; 101 to 500 3 16.52 percent; 501 to 1000 4. 10.43 percent ; 1 00 1 to 2000 5 18.26 percent ; 2001 p l us D Of the respondents I. 51.10 percent had a "marketing" departme nt in their organization a) of t hose respondents whose firm had a marketing department (I) 51.17 percent bad I t o 3 full-time employees (2) 16.09 percent had 4 to 6 fulltime employees (3) 1 3 79 percent had 7 to 10 full-time employees (4) 6.90 percent had 11 to 15 full t ime employees (5) I 1.49 percent had 16 or more fulltime employees b) of those respondents whose firm had a marketing department (I) 48 .15 percent did not have parttime employees (2) 41.20 percent bad 1 to 3 part-time emp l o y ees (3) 3.70 percen t had 4 to 6 part-time employees (4) 4 94 percent had 7 to 10 part-time employees (5) 0 percent had II to 15 part-time employees (6) 1.23 percent had 16 plus part-time employees 2 6


2. 36 52 perc e nt of the respondents hol d the op inion that their organization has enough personnel focused on marketing activ i ties. 3 63.48 p ercent of the respondents hold the op in ion that t heir organiza tio n does not have enough p ersoMel focused on marketing activ i ties E The respondents indica t ed t hat the ann. u al budget for th e act i vities of th eir marketing department or of their mar keting efforts is: I. 15.43 percent; l ess t han $5,000 2. 5 56 percent;$ 5 001 to $10, 0 00 3 11.73 percent ; $ 1 0,001 to $30 000 4. 2 28 percent; $30,001 to $50 000 5 2 .28 percent; $50 001 to $70 000 6 10.49 perce nt; $70 001 to $100 000 7 1 4 20 percent ; $100,001 to $200,000 8 16. 67 percent ; $200,00 1 to $500,000 9. 20 .37 percent ; $500,000 plu s D. The M a r keti n g D irecto r A. Of the respondents: I. 39. 89 percent s aid t heir organization has someone with the specific titl e of marketing director 2 60.11 percent said they did no t B. Of thos e whose organization did not have a marketing director, I 4 7. 06 percent said one individual is as s igned marketing responsib i lities a as seco n dary responsibility. 2 4 4 .12 percent said various individ u als have the responsibility 3 0 perc e nt said Customer Service is assigned the responsibility 27


4. 8 .82 percent said public/community affairs and relations is assigned the responsibility C. The respondents in dicated that the educational background of the indi vidual most responsible for marketing in their organizations is: L 5. 03 percent; some c ollege 2. I. 12 percent; high school graduate 3 2.23 percent; two year degree 4. 43.58 percent; four year degree 5. 12.85 percent; some graduate level 6. 35 .20 percent; graduate degree D. Of those individuals with a degree, the academic field of degree was: !. 20.73 percent; Marketing 2. 17.07 percent; Business 3 1 4.63 percent; Journalism 4. I 0 98 percent; Planning 5. 10 .37 percent; Public Administration 6. 9 .76 percent; Communications 7. 6.10 percent; Education 8. 5.49 percent ; Arts 9. 4 88 percent; Advertising 10. 3.05 percent; Management 11. 2. 44 percent; Sciences 12. 2.44 percent; Geography 13. 1.83 percent; Economics 14 1.83 percent; Account 15 20.12 percent; Other E. The respondents indicated that individuals performing marketing activities parti ci pation in other marketing education was as follows : I. 83.14 percent had participated in Professional Development Seminars 2. 6 4 .97 percent had participated in University Level Marketing Courses 23


3. 35 .6!' percent had participated in Post Graduate Marketing Courses F. The iotallength of time that individuals performing marketing activities has been involved in marketing was reported as follows: I. 18.13 percent; 0 to 3 years 2. 18.71 percent ; 4 to 6 years 3 24. 56 percent ; 7 to I 0 years 4. 22.22 percent ; II to 15 years 5. 16 37 percent ; 16 plus years G. The length of time this individual has been involved in marketing in their organi2ation is reported as : 40.23 percent; 0 3 years 2. 31.61 percent; 4-6 years 3 1 6.09 percent ; 71 0 years 4. 7.47 percent ; II15 years 5. 4.60 percent; 16 plus years ill. General Marketing Information A Marketing Plan 1 64.48 percent of respondents indicated that their organization has a written Marketing Plan. B. Planning Horizon I The respondents response to their plans time horizon indicates : a) 85 percent; less than 6 months b) 84.75 percent; less than I year c) 5.08 percent; less than 2 years d) 4 .24 percent; less than 3 years 29


e) 0 pe r cen t ; l ess than 4 years f) 3.39 p e rcen t ; l ess than 5 y e ars g) 1 69 percent; more than 5 years 2 The Marketing Plan is reviewed : a) 1 5 25 percen t ; Once a month b) 27.12 percent; Quarterly c) 5.93 percent; Every 6 m o n t hs d) 33.05 percent; Yearly e) 18.64 p e rcent ; No fixe d sch edu l e C. Segmentation I. The respondents i n dicate that t h eir firms use the follo,ving basis for segmenting their markets : a) 11.30 percent ; None is suggested b) 75.65 p e rc ent; Usage c) 55.65 per cent; Geographic d) 59.13 percent; Demographics e) 47 .83 percen t; Benefit f) 3 5 65 percent; Psychographies g) 9 .57 percent ; Other D. Marketing Activities I. The respondents characterize their firms marketing activities as follows : Curre n tly S h ou l d U s e Use Advertisi n g (General) Television 44 5 Radio 40 33 Newspaper 66 20 30


Currently Shou l d Use Use Billboards 33 28 Direct Mail 71 22 Word of Mo uth 8 3 4 P ublic S ervice Announcements 62 28 I nformation Brochures 98 7 Public Support Spon sorship P r ograms 43 2 4 Promotions (G enera l ) 41 4 Free Rides 58 8 Premiums 32 6 C ontest, Swtlepstakes, Games 4 9 1 7 Coupo n s 49 17 Discounted Fare 49 13 Multiple Use Discounts 28 20 Pay in Advance Discounts 30 II O n -sit e {Information Boot hs) 71 13 S pecific Pro grams (monthly passes etc.) 5 6 10 S pecial E vent s 54 26 Employer Based Mar keting Efforts (General) 42 11 Employer Sales Calls 6 0 1 6 Emp loyer Seminars 52 3 1 Special Eve n ts (Luncheons, etc ) 5 4 26 Other 11 2 2 The respondents rate the effectiveness of their current marketing efforts as follows: Advertising Campaigns 2.19 Tele visio n 2.34 R adio 1.21 New s paper 2 .65 Billboards 2 .56 D i rect Mail 2 36 W ord ofMou t h 2.10 ) I


Public Service Announcements 2.88 Information Brochures 2.16 Public Support Sponsorship Pr o grams 2 .66 Programs (Overall) 2.35 Free Ride s 2.03 P r emiums 2.66 Contests Swe e pstake s & Games 2.59 C ou pons 2 48 Discounted Fares 2.13 Mu l tip l e Use Discounts 1.98 Pay In Advance Di s counts 2.03 On-site (informatio n booths) 2 .10 Specific Programs (Monthly pass es etc ) 1.89 Special Events 2.31 Employer Based Marketi n g Efforts (Overall ) 2.31 Employer Sales Calls 2.27 Emp l oyer Semi n ars 2.34 Spec i al Eve n t s (Luncheon s ,.) for emp loyers 2 .32 3 The respondents rank the importance of the following promotional o b j ectives as follows : Informing the commuter abo u t y our service 1.67 Pe rs uading t he commuter to use your service 2.09 Comparing y o ur service with other 4.61 Remindi ng the commuter to use your serv i ce 3.23 Improving your image 3 23 E Sales of Advertising Space I. The re s ponses reve a l t he following re l ative to the sale of advertising space by the res p ondents' organization: a) 42.13 percent s ell s pace on their service b) 1 0 .11 percent sell s pace on their printed materials 32


F Customer Comments I 39.35 percent of responding organizations have a customer comment box G. Customer Information Gathering Methods I. The responses indicated the follow ing use of information gathering techniques. Weekly Monthly Annually Rarely Never Telephone Surveys 5 10 35 27 22 On-Board Questionnaires I 10 48 25 17 Focu s Groups 0 6 28 .39 27 Personal Interviews 5 10 18 46 22 In-Person Meetings 10 21 16 38 15 2 Commu nity Committees a) 60. 22 percent have formed Community Committees as a method of gathering input for their organization of those who have formed Community Committees they include b ) 82 .5 2 percent; Regular users c) 87.85 percent; Local business represen tatives d) 75.00 percent; Representatives of racial and ethnic groups e) 82 69 percent ; Representatives of local government f) 63.27 percent; Representatives of all age groups H. Perceptions of Marketing I On a scale of I to 5 where I = strongly agree and 5 = strongly disagree, the respondents indicate the foUowing perceptions of marketing a) 3.26 The main object i ve of marketing is to increase revenues. b) 2.24 Transportatio n organizations should design a good efficient service then convince people to use it? 33


c) 2.23 Marketing is properly part of the public relations responsibilities of transportation organizations? d) 4 04 Market segmentation is not a ve1y useful strategy for transportation organizations? e) 3.28 Scheduling of service availability should be the responsibility of marketers? f) 3.88 We've got marketing down, but we just don't know how to package our services. IV. Need for a Promotional Materials Clearinghouse A The respondents revealed the following relative to the need for or utility of a Promotional Materials Clearinghouse I. 2.02 Usefulness for your organization (I = very useful, 5 =not at all useful) 2. 1.84 Willingness to supply promotional materials (I =very willing, 5 = no more willing) 3. 3.08 Any more willing if awards and incentives were offered ( l more willing S = no more willing) 4 2.16 Willingness to supply marketing/promotional plans (I =very willing, 5 = very resistant) 5 2.03 Willingness to supply results of marketing/promotional effects (! = very willing, 5 = very resistant) B Availability of Results 1. The respondents indicated that their results are summarized in a format that would be useful to other organizations a) 5.17 percent; Always b) 40.23 percent; Usually c) 3 S. 06 percent; Occasionally 34


d) 13.79 percent; Rarely e) 5. 75 percent; Never C. Perceptions of usefulness of promotional materials D. I. The respondents perceived the usefulness of promotional materials to be as foUows (where I = very useful and 5 =not at all useful ) a) 1.96 Results of industry wide promotional activities b) 2 25 Coordinated statewide marketing efforts c) 1.79 Promotional materials d) 1.82 a Brochures e) 2.05 b. Posters f) 2.44 c Television Spots g) 2 21 d Radio Spots h) 1.95 e. Fliers i) 207 Environmental Information Materials Preferred Format I. The respondents preferred format was as follows: Average Ranking (where I = most preferred and 6 = least preferred) a) 1.88 Print media b) 2.94 Video c) 3 .14 Compu ter Di s k d) 3.85 Workshops e) 3 .89 Conferences f) 5.09 CD ROM 35


V. Professionnl Development Seminar A. Utilization of Service Firms/ Agencies Used Never Used 71 29 Advertising Agency 49 51 Planning/Engineering Firm 74 26 Marketing Consultant/Research Firm 16 84 Business/Financial Advisor 32 68 Strateg i c Planner 65 35 Design Firms: 66 3 4 Graphics 74 26 Brochures 51 49 Media Placement 67 33 Prod uc tion Companies (TV, Radio) 45 55 Public Relations Firm B U seful ness of Service Firms/ Agencies (I =Very Useful, 5 =Not Very Useful) I. 2.35 Advertising Agency 2 2 .56 Planning Engineering Firm 3. 2.16 Marketing Consultant/Research Firm 4. 2 .96 Business/Financial Advisor 5. 2 29 Strategic Planner 6. 1.92 Design Firm: 7. 1.8 3 Graphics 8. 1.89 Brochures 9. 2.42 Media Placement 1 0 2.06 Production Companies (TV, Radio) II. 2.49 Public Relations Finn 36


C. Willingness to Participate in Professional Development Seminars (where I = very willing, 5 = very resistant) 1.96 mean D. Willingness if Continuing Education Units were offered? (where I= more willing, 5 = no more willing) 3.27 mean E. Preferred Location of Seminars I. West Coast 41.07% Los Angeles 2. NorthWest 20. 24% Seattle 3. Mid West 22.02% Chicago 4 North East 20.24% New York City 5. Mid Atlantic 20.24% Washington, D.C. 6. Rockies 9.52% Denver 7 Southwest 14.29% Phoenix 8. Southeast 26.19% Atlanta 9 Atlantic Coast 12.50% Charlotte F. Preferred Time of Year for Professional Development Seminar 1. Spring 32.93% 2. Summer 39. 73% 3. Fall 31.14% 4. Winter 3 8 92% 37


G Perceived for Potent i al Seminar Topics (where I =Very Useful and 5 = Not Very Useful) Average Rating I. 2.43 Cust o mer Service Training (includes : Rider lnfonnation, Customer and Community RelationS, Special Sales) 2 1.89 Marketing ( Applied to your services) 3 2 28 Advertising 4 2.46 Media Placement 5 2 22 Copy Design 6. 1.89 Promotion 7. 2 .83 Pricing 8 1.96 Targeting 9 1.70 Marketing Planning/Strategy 10. 1.98 Marketing Research SkiDs 11. 1.98 Perfo rming T arge t Market Studies 12. 2.o7 Performing Attitudinal and Impact Studies 13. 2 .14 Performing Service Evaluations 14. 2.41 Communications Skills 15. 2.46 T ransportation Demand 16. 1.84 Consumer Behavior Mod ification 17. 1.80 Employer Based Marketing H Approp riate Daily F e e for Seminars L 10. 61 percent; free 2. 14 .39 percent;$ 1 -$so 3. 43.18 percent;$ 51$100 4. 16.67 percent; $101-$150 5 9 .85 percent; $151-$200 6. 3 79 percent; $201 $300 7. 0 percent; $301 $400 8. 1.52 percent; $40 I $500 MEAN $117.21 38