Case study: Commuting etiquette campaign reaches millions of Londoners

Doing the right thing is the theme of an approach to promoting compassion among people travelling on public transport, by asking commuters to offer their seat to those who may need it more than them.

TfL's 'Travel Kind' behaviour change campaign reached millions of Londoners
TfL's 'Travel Kind' behaviour change campaign reached millions of Londoners
Transport for London’s Priority Seating Week, which took place between 23-28 April, promoted the message that people should look up and see if anyone needs their seat more than they do, and to be considerate of their fellow passengers.

The annual awareness week, which began last year, focused on raising awareness of commuters who may not have obvious disabilities and a need for a seat.
It was aimed at all public transport users, as well as key stakeholder partners such as TfL staff. Drivers and station managers made announcements asking people to ‘look up and see if someone needs your seat more than you do’ when train doors opened to let customers on. 

TfL also ran the campaign messages on London Underground information screens. Other comms channels included editorial news, broadcast, online blogs.

The campaign was also promoted under the hashtag #TravelKind on the social media accounts of TfL and groups supporting the campaign such as Anxiety UK, Transport for All and Epilepsy Action.

Personal perspectives

Case studies of passengers speaking about the difference having a seat can make to their lives were used on social media. 

And in a bid to secure media coverage, TfL commissioned questions around priority seating in its existing customer survey. 

This revealed that one in four passengers feel awkward offering their seat to fellow passengers, which helped generate interest in the campaign.

New look

Another new development was the release of new priority seat designs that are being used on trains on the Jubilee Line.

The seats feature one of six different messages, including ‘please offer this seat’ and ‘someone may need this seat more.’ Others include ‘be prepared to offer this seat’, ‘not all disabilities are visible’, ‘this is a priority seat’, ‘please give up this seat.’


The campaign was covered in all the London media outlets it targeted, including BBC and ITV London broadcast, Evening Standard, Metro and City AM, and influential London blogs including Londonist and Ian Visits. In total, there were more than 25 reports across radio, TV, print and online outlets.

Around 3.5 million people were reached by social media, with more than 333,000 impressions, 76,000 media views, and 6,700 engagements on TfL’s social media accounts. 

Changing behaviours

Siobhra Murphy, head of campaigns, TfL’s press desk, said: "Many passengers are not intentionally unkind when they travel, but can instead get distracted by things, such as phones and books, meaning that they aren’t always paying attention to their fellow passengers."

She added: "A behaviour change campaign for considerate travel on the network can therefore be a challenging one. Priority Seating Week offers us a way of heightening awareness of the issue and how it impacts on people’s lives."

Murphy commented: "We developed a communications plan that had multiple touchpoints - whether that be through human impact stories, statistics to highlight existing customer behaviour, or through friendly staff reminders - and targeted content to different audiences through the most appropriate channels. The campaign was well received, with high levels of engagement and is something we are keen to run again next year."

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