Taking A Look Inside: Survey of State DOTs Offers Glimpse into Internal Comms

talking-clipart-people_standing_around_a_watercooler_talking_and_gossiping_0515-1103-1504-1157_SMUIt is no secret that state DOTs throughout the country have become adept communications organizations. The focus in many DOTs is turning away from the road to toward the people who use the transportation system – all its modes and priorities.

Whether you find yourself at a gathering of bridge engineers or environmental planners, the topic of communications has a good chance of being discussed. Continue reading “Taking A Look Inside: Survey of State DOTs Offers Glimpse into Internal Comms”

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Talking Audiences: You Can’t Reach Them from There

typewriter, iPad and televisionIn 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?

Continue reading “Talking Audiences: You Can’t Reach Them from There”

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”

New Research Reveals Messages that Move Public to Support Transportation Investments

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Key themes and messages identified in the new report, “Mobile Messages: Moving People to Support Transportation.”

A new research report published this week by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program offers some insight into how the general public views transportation, and suggests some ways to discuss investments that could generate greater support.

But there are not any “silver bullet” messages that work in every situation.

“Mobile Messages: Moving People to Support Transportation,” analyzes the results of more than two dozen case studies; a survey of transportation agency officials; eight focus groups; and, two dial testing sessions. Continue reading “New Research Reveals Messages that Move Public to Support Transportation Investments”

Getting to the right audience is tougher than ever despite strong interest in local news

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According to a new Pew Research Center report, “Across all levels of engagements and in all three cities, local TV is the top source of local news.”

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.

The study looked at news media habits in three communities – Denver; Sioux City, Iowa; and, Macon, Georgia. The researchers used a local news media audit, a survey of local residents and an analysis of social media (Twitter and Facebook posts in those areas).  Continue reading “Getting to the right audience is tougher than ever despite strong interest in local news”

Talking Environment: Transportation Messaging and Accountability

"Woodsy-Owl-original". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Woodsy-Owl-original.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Woodsy-Owl-original.jpg
“Woodsy Owl” Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Woodsy-Owl-original.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Woodsy-Owl-original.jpg

Check your calendars. Earth Day is April 22, just weeks away. This will be the 45th anniversary of the first Earth Day, which is commonly referred to as the start of the modern environmental movement.

I remember as a child in the 70s being taught to “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute” and I remember the Keep American Beautiful public service announcement that featured a tear falling down the cheek of a Native American as he watched garbage pile up in rivers and streams.

Those were powerful messages that helped shape my view of litter and helped my generation understand that our natural environment was important to protect. Continue reading “Talking Environment: Transportation Messaging and Accountability”