Presentation on theme: "Communicating About Funding Needs AASHTO Subcommittee on Transportation Finance Policy (SOTFP) Oct 18, 2013."— Presentation transcript:
Communicating About Funding Needs AASHTO Subcommittee on Transportation Finance Policy (SOTFP) Oct 18, 2013
The Problem Transportation is severely underfunded, but “appeals for action fall on deaf ears.”
Is this our story? “Total public spending on the capital needs for highways and bridges was approximately $40 billion [last year]… an additional $16 billion annually is needed just to maintain — not improve— the condition of the nation’s highways at the [current] level.” in
Not much has changed “Combined highway spending by all levels of government at its [current] level of $91 billion is projected to results in a decline in … condition and performance. [To] maintain conditions and performance … would cost $170 billion per year over 20 years.” in 2008
The Report c ontinues on to say… Highway safety has improved Operational performance has stabilized Pavement conditions have improved Bridge conditions have improved Transit is almost everywhere Transit is getting safer
“Should I believe the pundits or my own eyes?” - Washington Post editorial titled, “The US infrastructure argument that crumbles upon examination,” October 31, 2011
But we know there is a problem Peer Exchange Survey Question: “What best describes your DOT’s funding situation?” 79% Not adequate to meet current needs 21% Adequate for today but worried about the future
“In general, the public remains receptive to the message that smart transportation investments can make a positive long- term contribution to economic growth, U.S. competitiveness, and job creation. - Miller Center 2011 report, Are We There Yet? Selling America on Transportation And the public knows it too
So why aren’t we heard?
Kurt Vonnegut’s Story Shapes A Man Without a Country Published in 2005
Man in Hole
Boy Meets Girl
What’s our story shape?
The Miller Report recommends: 1.A positive, forward-looking tone framed around economic growth, jobs, competitiveness and quality of life 2.A well-designed and flexible campaign 3.A focus on building broader engagement
The Four Building Blocks Audience Identification Message Design Message Delivery Market Research There is a formula
The Outcome – Messages that Stick 1.Show transportation matters 2.Get transportation recognized 3.Incubate a network of transportation supporters 4.Orchestrate a call-to-action
Audience Identification and Segmentation Who are your customers and how are their interests related?
Audience Identification Interest Influence Small Low Large High Supportive Legislators Local Chambers Local Officials Construction Industry Local Government Staff Commuters Law Enforcement Opposed Legislators Latents Promoters Apathetics Defenders Interest/Influence Matrix
Market Research Do you really know what your customers think? What do they value?
Message Content Creation of concise and compelling messages is as much an art as a science
The Science: What Goes In DOT environment Technical information Customer values Strategic tie-ins
The Art: Making it Stick Simple Unexpected Credible Emotional Stay positive Story-based
Try a metaphor …
We can’t just focus on the bad roads
We must also prevent the good roads from going bad
Design good charts
Percent of pavement in good condition Customer Expectations: 85% 2011: 82%
Message Delivery How do you effectively reach the most customers?
How DOTs Communicate Today…. Message Delivery
The Duct Tape Won’t Last Forever Executive Staff Briefing 11/12/10 Internal Presentations
Contractors Association Meeting Joe Spalling DOT Pavement Professional External Presentations
Brochures, Reports and Handouts
Smart Phone Apps?
Surround Sound is the Key!
Top Lessons from Last Year’s Peer Exchange 1.Talking meaningfully about very large numbers can be difficult 2.Including projects in the discussion is often inevitable 3.Start communications effort early 4.Identify and neutralize opponents 5.Communications strategy should rise to the executive level
Top Lessons from Last Year’s Peer Exchange 1.Focus groups can be very helpful 2.If credibility is your problem, address that first 3.When you present data, use solid visualization techniques 4.Get your stakeholders on board – let them do the talking for you
Additional Discussion Q’s 1.What haven’t we talked about? 2.How do the experiences we talked about in Minnesota compare with the lessons learned? 3.Does the current political environment change anything? 4.What might AASHTO do to support improved communication?