Engineering talk: Explaining transportation from the users’ perspective

One of my favorite state transportation department blogs is written by the Arizona Department of Transportation. The latest post explains impact attenuators. I don’t need to explain impact attenuators because ADOT already has, and in a very understandable way, too (see story).

I enjoy the Arizona DOT’s blog because it is written from a driver’s perspective. It tries to answer those same questions that people ask themselves when they are motoring down the highway.

Meanwhile, most of us in the transportation business spend a lot of time communicating about transportation from the perspective of engineers and policy experts. We “push” information in order to sway public opinion in support or opposition of a specific idea. Arizona DOT seems to trust the value of explaining what’s happening on the road – from the view of the transportation user.

Focus group research conducted in fall 2010 seemed to indicate that talking about transportation in this way increases the likelihood of public support for additional transportation funding. That alone might be reason for more of us to consider writing as if we were driving (or walking or riding or biking).


Author: Lloyd Brown

I am the director of communications for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. I enjoy running marathons and triathlons, playing guitar and spending time with family. My professional interest is in how social media and new technology shapes the communication relationship between government and the general public. I have a Master’s degree in Communications and Leadership from Gonzaga University in Spokane and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Washington State University.

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