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).

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Hello transportation communicators!

Welcome to the first post of Talking Transportation, a running discussion of the latest news and information about the practice of communicating about transportation. Social media, news releases, strategies and tips, the latest research … you you will find all of that here.