Research Program Design---Administration of Highway and Transportation Agencies. Communication Strategies to Increase Understanding of Funding and Revenue Needs for the Nation's Transportation System

Federal and state transportation agencies and the public face critical decisions about future funding for our Nation's transportation systems. Discussion focused largely on the cost to users often does not fully capture either the benefits of the system or the consequences of underinvestment. In notable instances, state departments of transportation (DOTs) or other public sector agencies conducted successful campaigns to raise public awareness of strategic transportation issues that resulted in voter support for new funding mechanisms, increased taxes, or other support for transportation. Examples include the Utah Litter Campaign, the Washington DOT Nickel Tax Increase, the Colorado Transportation Expansion Project, (T-Rex) and New Mexico's GRIP (Governor Richardson's Improvement Program). The objectives of the initial stage of this research were to identify and describe the essential characteristics of marketing campaigns and outreach efforts that have enhanced public and key stakeholder support for transportation projects and programs, and to document case studies to assist DOT executive leaders to create new efforts to reach key stakeholders and secure support for continued and additional revenue. This research sought to identify key social, political, or other factors influencing the success of such campaigns and outreach efforts. The research team conducted interviews with key policy makers in selected state agencies to explore how actions at the executive leadership level can build positive awareness for national and local transportation systems and enhance public support for sustained and increased transportation funding. Building on these interviews, the team undertook to describe the essential characteristics of "outreach," "education," and "marketing," the advantages and limitations of each activity, and situations for which each activity is well or poorly suited as a means for building positive awareness for national and local transportation systems and enhancing public support for sustained and increased transportation funding. The product is effectively a guide for senior executive leadership, presenting information on successful outreach, education, and marketing efforts and case studies; key lessons learned about factors influencing the success of such efforts; and advice from experiences of policy makers interviewed in this project. Include examples of materials used in successful outreach, education, and marketing efforts and other useful reference materials. A second phase of research will undertake to identify specific messages that may be effective in communicating finance and revenue needs to stakeholders in various parts of the nation. In addition to reviewing examples of communications efforts that seem to have influenced officials and the public to support funding initiatives, the research will test messages with representative groups.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • The research team's final report of the first-phase work was delivered to AASHTO and may be viewed on that organization's web site. A second-phase effort explored additional cases and the language that stakeholders respond to in discussions of the vallue of funding transportation infrastructure. The report of that work is presented in two volumes and a short summary that may be downloaded from the AASHTO web site .


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-24(62)

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Lemer, Andrew

  • Performing Organizations:

    PB Consult, Incorporated

  • Principal Investigators:


  • Start Date: 20081008
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20100928
  • Source Data: RiP Project 17304

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01549599
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-24(62)
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2015 1:01AM