Your customers are mobile, are you?

Transportation is about movement. If you are in the business of communicating about transportation, understanding movement seems about as basic a skill as you might need. Yet, many of our colleagues in the business are slow to realize that our audiences are now more mobile than ever before.

Research suggests that as many 80 percent of American adults use the internet in one way or another. Nearly 60 percent of internet using adults access the internet wirelessly. Expect that number to climb significantly thanks to all those iPads, Kindle Fire, e-readers, iPhones and other smartphones sold during the holiday shopping season.

What does that mean for transportation communicators? A significant percentage of your core customer base is mobile. The people who make up that base will expect you to be mobile too.

A mobile customer wants information instantaneously. The mobile customer wants that information regardless of the time of day and regardless of the type of device they are using.

Whether you focus on transit, highways, biking, freight or aviation there are some things to keep in mind in a mobile world.

When thinking specifically about mobile remember to first be available. Ask yourself, is your web site easy to access? What can a mobile app do for your organization?

Also, be responsive. Are there internal processes in place to handle questions or to pass along information that is collected or received in mobile-based communication channels like Facebook and Twitter?

Finally, be creative. Are there opportunities for you to engage the public in new ways?

A final thought. No matter the technology, it is important to keep doing the basics well. You still need a good communication plan. You still need a good message that beaks through the information clutter. Accuracy and timeliness of information remain critical concerns for communication teams, perhaps more so in a mobile world.


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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