The Missouri DOT Bridge Closure website provides updates on bridge closures and unplanned maintenance scheduling to inform the public of changes in their daily transportation routes, and to maintain transparency and good communication. The site links to further information on the condition of the state's bridges and the state's inspection process.
This program won an honorable mention in the 2011 John and Jane Public Competition. From TRB Committee ADA 60: Notify NYC is a voluntary program designed by the New York City Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications to enhance New York City’s emergency public communications. It serves as the City of New York’s official source for information about emergency events and important city services, providing New Yorkers in all five boroughs with real-time updates on what they need to know, when they need to know it. Registration is free and simple. Users can choose to receive notifications by e-mail, SMS/text, and/or recorded telephone calls, and can request information related to specific ZIP codes. Notifications are also sent to OEM’s Twitter page and can be delivered to taxi drivers, or on electronic road signs operated by the Department of Transportation. Notify NYC has proven to be an invaluable tool in helping keep tens of thousands of New Yorkers informed about emergencies, school closings, transportation issues and other special events. To date, 69,361 New Yorkers have signed up to receive Notify NYC alerts. More than 1,200 messages have been disseminated, ensuring that New Yorkers receive the emergency information they consider to be significant. In sharing critical information with a community of participants, Notify NYC is an indispensable addition to the city’s emergency communications tools.
This project was a 2014 John and Jane Public Competition winner. From TRB Committee ADA 60: To clearly explain the 2014 Washington State Freight Mobility Plan, WSDOT developed several easily digested communications tools to help inform and engage the public about the plan’s findings and recommendations. An Executive Summary provides a shortened, reader-friendly version highlighting the plan’s five key findings. For the first time WSDOT created supply chain maps that show where key state industry sectors cluster on the Freight Economic Corridors. A dynamic, animated infographic briefly explains how the freight system helps sustain Washington’s economy. And a video featuring Orion Aerospace employees launches WSDOT’s “Freight Matters” – a series of talks with freight-dependent businesses personalizing the value of freight in their lives. Each element explains the value of the system to non-technical viewers and leads to the same call to action: We can meet this challenge together. Washington’s freight system needs preservation, increased mobility, and participation from Washington residents in every industry, every government level, and every planning organization to implement the plan. With the engaging infographic and personal aspect of the Freight Matters video series, WSDOT significantly expanded its reach and potential to improve the state’s freight system for today and the future.
This project was a 2013 John and Jane Public Competition winner. From TRB Committee ADA 60: In the nation’s larger metropolitan areas, where housing is expensive and traffic is congested, the choice of where to live often involves a trade-off between housing cost and commute length. Better planning, however, can help mitigate this persistent dynamic, as outlined in California Senate Bill 375, a 2008 law that directs regional agencies to formally consider the joint impacts of land use and transportation planning decisions. To help illustrate this trade off, during the development of the recently adopted (July 2013) Plan Bay Area, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (together with its partner agency, the Association of Bay Area Governments), created an interactive map that combines housing price and travel shed information.
This video was a 2012 John and Jane Public Competition winner. From TRB Committee ADA 60: Every four years, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission updates its Regional Transportation Plan. Public participation is critical to ensure an open, democratic process, in which all stakeholders have opportunity to offer input and share their vision for what a vibrant, livable Bay Area will look like decades from now. But how do transportation professionals help the public make sense of it all? MTC’s answer in 2011 was to produce a clever and informative animated video focused on the transportation investment decisions – some $256 billion worth – at the core of the Plan Bay Area effort. The Transportation Priorities: How Would YOU Invest? video served to demystify the complexities of transportation planning and finance, and show interested Bay Area residents some of the trade-offs that will have to be made by MTC decision makers, all in five minutes.
This project was a 2011 John and Jane Public Competition honorable mention winner. From TRB Committee ADA 60: The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) is a multi-modal public transportation provider for the Houston/Harris County region. In addition to providing local and commuter bus, paratransit, and light rail services, the region looks to METRO during emergencies to provide transportation services in support of regional evacuations, particularly of citizens with functional and access needs, as well as other emergency transportation needs. Communicating with those citizens is vital during an emergency, and METRO accomplishes this through a variety of methods, including a website, social media, an information phone-line, and traditional media sources.
This project was a 2013 John and Jane Competition winner. From TRB Committee ADA 60: The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area is Canada’s largest urban region and the fifth largest in North America. The region is growing quickly, and the transportation system has not kept pace with population growth. This underinvestment has left local residents grinding out an 82-minute commute on average every day. The next wave of transportation projects requires $34 billion in public investment. To secure funding, Metrolinx needed to build public understanding about benefits and costs, and solicit input concerning transportation fees, tolls, and taxes. Metrolinx teamed up with MASS LBP, a public engagement firm, to develop and implement a public engagement and communications strategy that educated residents and enabled a two-way conversation about transportation projects and funding. The strategy was based on a three-pronged approach that combined a Conversation Kit, Public Roundtable Meetings and an in-depth Residents’ Reference Panel. Together, these efforts effectively communicated the many elements of The Big Move and empowered residents to learn about the need for – and to provide input into – the transformation of transportation across the region.
This project was a 2012 John and Jane Public Competition winner. From TRB Committee ADA 60: Traditionally, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has used an open house format to communicate ideas and concepts in the State Highway Investment Plan update. Desiring a more robust public involvement element, the recent update uses a variety of communication techniques to better educate and engage the public in the difficult risk and investment trade-offs. In addition to using standard outreach techniques, such as maintaining a project website, using social media (Facebook and Twitter), and updates via a project email list, MnDOT implemented several innovative tools. Examples are a budgeting exercise, webinars, and an online tool to assess the values of the public and identify where citizens want greater investment along the state’s highways.
This project was the 2011 John and Jane Public Competition winner. From TRB Committee ADA 60: The WSDOT Communications Team works year-round to establish its credibility as the first and best source of information. The team also keeps working on ways to educate the public on best practices for winter preparedness, where to get information and safe driving techniques in snow and ice. To keep drivers and the economy moving, WSDOT sent out printed materials to tire stores before winter, participated in public preparedness events and hosted media events at its materials warehouses to highlight what it would use during storms. After years of being recognized for its communication strategies, during the 2010-2011 fall and winter season, the WSDOT Communications team further increased its strategic resource sharing and reached out to find new communications tools and techniques. The 2010-2011 winter presented WSDOT with challenges. Multiple, unseasonably heavy and widespread snow and ice storms hit a region unaccustomed to snow and ice. Drivers had high expectations of WSDOT to deliver up-to-the-minute information and keep thousands of miles of road clear. WSDOT uses both traditional tools and cutting edge new technologies (blogs, social media, smartphone apps, and skype) to ensure people are prepared and informed. These cutting-edge tools take emergency communications to the next level, but staff also remember the rule of "make new but keep the old" and maintains its traditional media outreach, such as live radio reports, which studies show is a vital tool in emergency communications. Combining the new and keeping a focus on traditional provide the best methods to communicate to the public in an emergency, keeping the economy moving and giving drivers information to make the best and safest travel decisions.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied herein are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board, the National Academies, or the program sponsors. NCHRP Project 20-24(93)B(02) was sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, and was conducted in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, which is administered by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies.