Transportation communications professionals are constantly challenged with trying to reach the right audiences with the right messages. Public involvement experts take that challenge a step further – trying to develop a dialogue with key communities potentially affected by a project or plan.
The Transportation Research Board held its annual meeting earlier this month in Washington DC. More than 11,000 people descended on the three hotels that host the series of discussions, workshops, poster sessions and committee meetings. In the broader transportation world, TRB’s annual meeting is the ultimate place to catch up with industry leaders and hear the latest in research trends and successful tactics.
For the transportation communicator, TRB’s annual meeting includes many important sessions, and one that I always enjoy is the 90 minutes dedicated to the winners of the “Communicating Concepts with John and Jane Q. Public” competition. The TRB Planning and Environment Group each year asks transportation organizations to nominate their best work at communicating a particular aspect of transportation to the public.
The Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting is one of the most interesting gathering of transportation experts. Each year more than 11,000 people who work in, around and on transportation programs visit Washington DC for a nearly week-long exploration of all things transportation.
A new report from the Transportation Research Board‘s National Cooperative Research Program finds that, “Bringing about a change in attitudes toward highway maintenance and preservation actions will require thoughtful and ongoing communications campaigns by DOTs.”
I often share a quote from Neil Postman, a noted author and media critic, who had serious doubts about how technology was affecting our modern ability to think and communicate.
In a 1998 speech, Postman suggested that there is a basic question, “What will a new technology do?” that is no more important than the question, “What will a new technology undo?” And in the context of public engagement and, specifically, within the world of transportation communication, I think Postman’s question is worth considering.
The Transportation Research Board annual meeting is one of the most comprehensive transportation meetings with more than 11,000 attendees tackling issues as diverse as signal timing and real estate right-of-way to the role of the federal government in transportation and … Twitter.