Talking Audiences: You Can’t Reach Them from There

typewriter, iPad and televisionIn the transportation communications business there are always two critical questions that should start most conversations:

  • “What do you want to say?” (the key messages)
  • “Who do you want to hear it?”(the target audiences)

Once we figure out those two questions, the hard work begins outlining strategies and tactics that we will need to reach the target audiences. But, unfortunately, it is very common for our colleagues to jump to the tactic, without really considering those questions – what and whom?

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What’d you say? Archiving the conversation for public records

There is no doubt that social media is a standard practice for state DOTs and other transportation agencies. And, as with other standard government communications, public records and retention laws, guidance and regulation abound for social media.

That’s right. Today’s transportation communications practitioners expected to keep up with emerging technologies, learn the rapidly shifting cultures that govern each unique space, and stand ready to share credible, vetted information at a moments notice regardless of the time of day. They also have to understand and comply with archiving rules and regulations governing their organization.  Continue reading

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Transportation Communicating is About More Than Cars and Highways

Even as the price of fuel remains low and national vehicle miles traveled grows on our nation’s highways, there is no doubt that bicycling — whether competitively or recreationally — is growing in popularity.

Most states have policies and programs in place to support bicycling programs and infrastructure. In addition, state transportation departments tend to have employees who bike regularly. In many states the chief engineers and transportation CEOs regularly cycle and serve as the strongest advocates for bicycling. Continue reading

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Talking Transportation: From ‘Pothole Palooza’ to the Tweeting Pothole

In 2009, the District Department of Transportation began what, at the time, was a fairly novel way of interacting with the public over the state of infrastructure. What became known as “Pothole Palooza” was quite brilliant. The folks at DDOT told the public to “tweet” photos and the location of potholes and someone with the city would be out to fix it within 72 hours.

The response was immediate and immediately successful. The public responded so well that in 2015, the District announced that it had fixed more than 36,000 potholes during its annual spring campaigns. You can actually see the results and track repairs on a DC DOT map. Continue reading

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