|Ph.D Student||Ben Dror Maya|
|Subject||The Role of Social Media in Transportation Policy|
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Pnina Plaut|
|Full Thesis text|
Some of the many social media applications of the information era are strictly dedicated to transportation and mobility services. They enable new commute and mobility options, based on rich and often real-world information. As such, they offer an opportunity to replace traditional lab-generated, sample-based, and statistical transport policy formation methods with continuous real-time data informed methods. However, the exploitation of social media by government agencies is still in its nascent stage; it is heavily reliant on off-line practices and experiences and is neither systematic nor sufficient. This PhD thesis examines the role transportation-focused social media can play in informing transport policy. It begins with a systematic literature review of social media in transportation policy and planning which showed that social-media data’s research to date is concentrated on qualitative event-based data for informing transport management rather than on quantitative data capable of mirroring features of mobility transformation and supporting policy formation to better govern it. The empirical research is based on a China case study, centered around low-carbon vehicle policies. The research methodology is comprised of two main tools: 46 semi-structured interviews and a 14 participants two-round Delphi method both cover public, private, academic, media and NGO sector representatives. A synthesis of the interviews with the reviewed knowledge areas yielded three outputs: first, a dedicated definition to transportation social media, titled “TSM,” that may help nudge public-private collaboration that will, in turn, enable better informed policy formation; second, a dynamic policy formation framework inclusive of TSM; third, a set of criteria for selecting the “right” TSM application to inform the target policy will further support the integration of TSM in policy-formation. The three outputs were then examined from a western point of view and their transferability was demonstrated through the Delphi method. The thesis’ main contribution is in the linkage it offers between three distinct knowledge areas - Policy Dynamics, Knowledge to Action, and Technology Transition - in the context of (sustainable) transport policy, and in the development of a novel dynamic virtual citizen science informed policy framework.