Transportation organizations have important information to share with the traveling public. That’s especially true during natural disasters when maintenance crews and first responders are often the first people surveying damage and assessing the status of infrastructure leading to people’s homes and businesses.
It’s common throughout the transportation industry to make data available for private use. And, that data often end up presented in mobile apps. No surprise, if a department of transportation or local transit agency has rapidly, or even regularly updated data that includes route conditions, a mobile public wants to know.
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority not only makes its data available to those who build apps, it went a step further and asked its customers which app they find most useful. Then, based on the customer feedback, established a handy summary chart, that not only lists the most popular apps, but where people use the app and the features that customers find most helpful.
Not only does MBTA seem as if it’s listening, it also is providing an additional service for its customers. Which, by the way, beats the alternative.
In 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?
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.
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 old adage that all news is local remains just as true today as it did before the advent of the internet and mobile devices.
According to a recently released Pew Research Center study, interest in local news remains strong. And, the study shows that traditional media outlets – especially local television – remain important outlets for local news.