INTERNATIONAL: Flemish tram and bus operator De Lijn and Metro de Madrid have been named as winners of this year’s UITP Marketing Awards, announced at the association’s fifth International Marketing Conference. Held in Lisbon on October 7-9, the event was hosted by local operators Carris and Metropolitano de Lisboa.

Open to all members, the UITP Marketing Awards reward creativity in the fields of communication and advertising. The theme chosen by the Commission on Marketing & Product Development for 2009 was ‘Successfully marketing public transport: changing attitudes, influencing demand, and increasing performance’.

De Lijn won the Commercial campaign award and Madrid the category for Printed campaign. More than 200 delegates from 30 countries participated in the voting. Attracting 4 800 votes via the UITP website, the Public’s Choice Awards went to De Lijn for Best Commercial Film and to Singapore’s SMRT for Best Printed Campaign.

‘It is all about considering how organisations can use marketing to increase their market share, improve their profit margins, find their way to successfully compete against the car, and stimulate demand for public transport as a whole,’ said Secretary-General Hans Rat, flagging up the new UITP strategy: ‘Public transport: the smart green solution’, as an intrinsic part of the association’s goal to double public transport’s market share by 2025.

‘The challenge of marketing is to be innovative and create new high-quality and cost-efficient services to anticipate and respond to the evolving needs and new lifestyles of consumers. That is why the sector’s strategy is to provide public transport that fits within new lifestyles. We need to be the first mobility choice in citizens' minds’, he believes.