The Oregon road user charge program, OReGo, has a huge challenge. It is leading the nation in implementing a road user charge program, one that is often hard to understand for people accustomed to paying a per-gallon tax at the gas pump.
And in researching ways to connect with their customers, the team at OReGO came to a realization.
“People just don’t get road user charging when you write about it,” said Michelle Godfrey, education and outreach coordinator with the Oregon Department of Transportation, in a recent phone interview.
What people need, Godfrey said, is storytelling. They need a way to have a conversation. And the outreach campaign in support of this new road user charge program, according to Godfrey, needed to answer a single specific question that should very much resonate with anyone working in transportation communications: “What matters to people?”
The 2014 State DOT Social Media Survey shows states overwhelmingly prefer Facebook and Twitter over other social media tools.
The fifth annual state department of transportation social media survey results were released last month at the annual meeting of TransComm, the AASHTO Subcommittee on Transportation Communications.
(Editor’s note: Full disclosure, I work at AASHTO and oversee the annual survey of state DOTs. Much of the discussion below comes from observations while reviewing raw survey data.)
The survey, started in 2009, confirms what we all probably already suspect. State DOTs are heavily invested in social media outreach both in the operations and public involvement areas. The 2014 survey confirms that not only are the state DOTs utilizing social media tools, many are doing so at a very sophisticated level. Continue reading →
The novel approach to build an online campaign focused on a specific audience of younger adults who, according to research, are more likely to get behind the wheel after drinking or drugging.
“Far too many people still mix alcohol, drugs and driving. Young people, in particular, often don’t understand that impaired driving is a crime, and a serious one — and they also are less likely to buckle up,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren. “These same young people ages 21-34 no longer receive news through traditional means. We’re hopeful this new series will catch their attention and give them a reason to log on or check their mobile devices. When they do, they’ll be entertained — and most importantly, they’ll receive a life-saving message.”
I stumbled upon Bernie Wagenblast’s Shout-O-Matic audio blog this week and immediately was excited about a tool that is being used by the Idaho Transportation Department.
The Public Involvement Planner (POP) is a tool developed by the Langdon Group to help non-communications and public involvement staff think about what goes into a public outreach plan.
Idaho’s POP web site describes it this way, “POP is a tool for analyzing and quantifying public outreach needs, which will ultimately lead to efficient and appropriate outreach management.”
I first heard of the POP tool during the annual TRB meeting earlier this month in Washington DC from Langdon’s Bryant Kuechle. What is exciting about the tool, at least to me, is that it is not limited to just planning projects. Indeed, the Idaho POP has worksheets for corridor planning and environmental planning efforts. But it also includes worksheets for construction projects, non-construction projects and emergencies.
Ultimately, every state and local transportation agency should have a process to help put together communication plans. If yours doesn’t, consider creating one.