Inclement Weather Emergency – Communications Strategies/Products

Resource Overview

Date published:
Resource type: Social Media, Website/ Tool
External link:
Summary: 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.

This document addresses the following performance areas:
System Performance.
Intended audiences: Public
Intended messages: Call to Action, We're Accountable
Intended messengers: DOT Communications

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