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

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Talking public transportation: Mobility Lab asks ‘Where are we headed?’

Mobility Lab is one of the more interesting groups advocating for transportation investment. Based in Arlington, Virginia, the group describes itself as “a leading U.S. voice of “transportation demand management” – moving people instead of cars – and works to create a shared national voice with clear calls to action from TDM agencies across the country.”  Continue reading “Talking public transportation: Mobility Lab asks ‘Where are we headed?’”

A Road to Reality: Taking Transportation Myths Head On

Longtime readers of this blog know that its focus is on the practice of communicating about transportation. This blog does not attempt to take on the politics of transportation.

Gov. Rick Snyder (left) and MDOT Director Kirk Steudle discuss transportation investment during a news conference. Photo courtesy Michigan DOT.
Gov. Rick Snyder (left) and MDOT Director Kirk Steudle discuss transportation investment during a news conference. Photo courtesy Michigan DOT.

However, in writing about one it is sometimes impossible not to include mention of the other. While that is perhaps the situation here, the interesting strategy behind a particular Michigan Department of Transportation communication effort is worth noting.

Continue reading “A Road to Reality: Taking Transportation Myths Head On”

Selling Transportation: Big Challenge, Different Stories

Many different organizations have tried to raise the general public awareness for the current state of the nation’s transportation infrastructure. In March, the American Society of Civil Engineers updated its infrastructure report card, giving the United States a D+ grade and projecting a $3.6 trillion investment need.

While this report cast a net far beyond just roads and bridges, it represents the kind of “things are falling apart and we can’t keep up” messaging that is often used when discussing transportation system investment needs.

Lately a different point of view is gaining traction in transportation circles. Instead of focusing on the need, focus on the role transportation plays in the nation’s economy and our overall quality of life. Continue reading “Selling Transportation: Big Challenge, Different Stories”