Sasquatch takes a walk, educates Oregonians on pedestrian crossings

There is no shortage of creativity in transportation communications. In this example, the folks at Oregon Department of Transportation and Metro – the Portland area regional government – turned to a Northwest icon to help educate motorists about pedestrian crossings.

Tuning In: Pokemon Go #Safety Message

Not every current event is appropriate for a transportation social media feed. But the folks at Washington State Department of Transportation continue to show off their deft ability to connect with their audiences by tying in with the latest Pokemon game.

Release July 7, Pokemon Go challenges players to find Pokemon characters – in the real world. So basically, people are walking around – or worse driving around – looking for these virtual characters. Clearly, a word of safety advice is in order here, right?

Here’s the tweet from @wsdot:

And before you think that WSDOT was just overly opportunistic, consider this item posted on Vine: (editor’s note: the Vine was deleted from the site. But visit Vine to see other examples.)

And there are even people who in just the first week think walking and playing the game is too “boring.” So, they are trying to figure out how to drive and play the game “safely.”

As if the world of driving wasn’t already difficult enough!

Ohio’s ‘Don’t Be That Driver’ Key Message for 2016 Work Zone Awareness Campaign

National Work Zone Awareness week runs April 11-15 and its theme this year is “Don’t Be That Driver.”

The Ohio Department of Transportation, the host of this year’s national kick-off event near Toledo, has developed a number of creative and thought-provoking public service announcements that use humor to make the point that driving safely through work zones is the responsibility of all drivers.

More information on the National Work Zone Awareness week and the coalition of supporting organizations is available from American Traffic Safety Services Association, including details on a new 2016 initiative that encourages people and organizations to display orange to support the work zone safety theme.

The Big Three: Facebook, Twitter and Video Are DOTs Preferred Social Places

For more than half a decade, AASHTO has tracked social media usage by state departments of transportation. During that time, a crazy myriad of social tools have come along – and gone away. But according to the 2015 State DOT Social Media Survey, three social tools have established themselves as the tried-and-true, go-to resources.

(Full disclosure: I serve as AASHTO’s communications director and work closely with state DOTs on communications issues, including use of social media.)

Each June, AASHTO surveys state DOTs about their social media programs. In 2010, states generally relied on Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Approximately 10 percent of state DOTs still maintained MySpace accounts and 33 percent offered podcasts.

socia media big threeThis year’s survey shows, however, that Facebook, Twitter and online video services YouTube and Vimeo are the social tools most used by state DOTs to communicate with the public.

The survey goes a step further and asks states a simple question, “If your state could use only one social media service, which would it use?” Twitter came out slightly ahead of Facebook, but both tools had their fans.

whichonetool Twitter advocates said that the short message format and the immediate information delivery worked best for providing breaking, or urgent information about system conditions. It also was described as an important channel for connecting with journalists and bloggers covering transportation issues.

Facebook fans described the rich suite of tools and the ability to integrate several social channels into a single site as among its biggest benefits. In short, Facebook has the potential for the largest audience and provides the best platform for longer-form messages related to safety and overall agency branding.

You can see from the chart below that Twitter is mostly used for the urgent, need-to-know information, while states mostly use Facebook for public involvement and general branding/safety messaging.

bigthreetable.emfA full list of the annual social media reports 2010-2015 is available at the TransComm web site.