Strategic Communications to Improve Support for Transit-Priority Projects

To improve quality of service, transit agencies are looking at establishing transit-priority lanes and other initiatives that require modification of existing street configurations. These include bus-ways, bus lanes, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), light rail, and streetcar services. Modifying streets can engender significant opposition from elected officials and the public. Planning and proposing changes without obtaining community buy-in and support can lead to public hostility and misunderstanding of the benefits of public transportation. However, some transit agencies and communities are developing more thoughtful, multi-dimensional strategic approaches to communicate and present the need for reimagined transit services to obtain support for these initiatives. Strategic communication by public transportation officials typically includes some of these elements: (1) Clear leadership framing for policies and projects; (2) Early introduction of policy ideas and broad project concepts without generating opposition; (3) A framework or boundary for appropriate input; (4) An outreach ground game with a varied approach to different stakeholders;and (5) Social media to create a general awareness of projects and policies, gain additional public input; and communicate the extent of public input in final decisions. This research is needed to help transit agencies and the communities they serve address these important issues and develop successful communication strategies. The objective of this research is to develop effective communications strategies to engage public support in the planning and implementation of transit priority projects that improve transit service quality and mobility and increase transit ridership. The research should explore successful communications strategies within public transportation and other sectors.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $50000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project J-11, Task 29

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Schwager, Dianne

  • Performing Organizations:

    Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates

  • Principal Investigators:

    Forinash, Chris

  • Start Date: 20180515
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190630
  • Actual Completion Date: 20190630

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01650687
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project J-11, Task 29
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 13 2017 3:03PM