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21 CHAPTER 5 Summary of Transportation Knowledge Network Outreach Activities Overview · One-on-one briefings were conducted with senior trans- portation managers who are in a position to champion the The ability to move forward with the vision for TKNs TKN initiative. depends on establishment of a broad base of support within the · A focus group was held to obtain detailed feedback on the target market segments. The outreach strategies implemented TKN portal concept. in this project began the process of building this support. A central element of the outreach strategy was to identify and enlist a network of key champions who understand the Outreach Activities and Deliverables vision and the benefits to be gained from TKNs and who are in Specific actions and deliverables undertaken are summarized a position to advocate for TKN implementation. This network below. Detailed outreach materials are provided as appendices of key champions could include representatives of the target to this report. markets to be served: U.S.DOT Administrations, state DOTs, MPOs, universities, and LTAP/TTAP Centers. It could also include RITA and NTL representatives who would play a lead- Action Step 1--Develop ership role in TKN effort. The focus of the outreach activities Communications Toolkit has been state DOT leadership and planners and the leadership of the UTCs. Objectives: Develop materials for team and panel mem- Members of the transportation library and research com- bers to use with key stakeholders. Publicize the project and munities bring a greater degree of support for enhanced infor- the communications toolkit within the transportation mation services and greater familiarity with the TKN concept community. than others within the target market organizations. Those in Deliverables: senior management positions need to be educated about what · Web site for the NCHRP 20-75 project, including FAQs, TKNs are, what services they will provide, and how these serv- related links, the draft business plan, and the outreach ices will benefit their organizations. Therefore, the focus of the materials (presentations, one-pager, audio testimonials). outreach activities was on education about TKNs outside of the · Project Overview. This overview was originally developed library and research communities. for the January 2008 TRB annual meeting, and was subse- Key outreach activities included the following: quently refined for use at the AASHTO SCOH meeting in May 2008, and for individual interviews and focus groups in · A communications toolkit was developed that includes pre- July and August 2008. A shorter version was developed for sentations and briefing materials for use by those involved use following completion of the project. in outreach activities. · Mock-up of the home page of a one-stop shopping portal · The content of the business plan was publicized on a proj- Web site. ect Web page and key audiences were notified about the · Overview presentation of the TKN business plan. materials through targeted e-mail lists. · Two narrated slideshows illustrating how TKNs could help · Briefings about the TKN initiative were provided at selected in two information-seeking scenarios, one on incident transportation conferences and meetings including the response and the other on mileage-based user fees. TRB annual meeting, the AASHTO spring meeting, and the · Audio testimonials from four leaders in the transportation CUTC annual meeting. community and an associate professor at the School of
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22 Information Studies at Syracuse University about their tures and content they would find most valuable and edu- perspective on the need for TKNs. cate them on the efforts under way to develop a portal and services. Deliverables: Action Step 2--Outreach · A focus group was conducted via conference call and the at Professional Meetings Internet. The purpose of the call was to gather reactions to Objectives: Create awareness of and support for the (1) elements of the business plan, (2) tools that could business plan among key stakeholders. be developed to assist in the search for information, and Deliverables: (3) the process for procuring and maintaining information · Informal briefings on the project at the AASHTO Informa- resources. The invitation was sent initially to about twenty tion Systems meeting and the AASHTO Standing Com- members of the AASHTO Standing Committee on Plan- mittee on Quality meeting. ning (SCOP). Three states responded, and members of the · Briefing at the LIST Committee meeting at the summer research team followed up with others to obtain represen- TRB meeting. tation from five states. Planning representatives from · Presentation about the TKN business plan at a Trans- Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Oregon, and Virginia DOTs par- portation Library Connectivity Pooled Fund Study annual ticipated in the focus group. meeting. Generally, the participants liked the idea of TKNs and an · A one-page overview of the business plan distributed at information portal, provided the resources were available several meetings during TRB week. to develop and maintain them. All emphasized the need for · Materials prepared for a project briefing at the AASHTO sharing of information with peers and the importance of spring meeting of the SCOH. the portal being comprehensive and up to date. Topic areas · A brief (four question) follow-up survey of AASHTO of interest included revenue generation, privatization, cli- SCOH was conducted to obtain feedback on the TKN con- mate change, reauthorization, and multimodal tradeoffs. cept. Twenty-eight responses were received. Full results are One participant suggested that having multiple individuals included in Appendix D. Key findings were as follows: involved in leading topics would provide a balanced and 86% of respondents felt that a transportation knowledge diverse set of perspectives. Some discussion arose regarding network/information portal will add value for transpor- the regional TKN model. Participants understood that this tation agencies; remaining respondents answered "don't could be an effective way of building on existing connec- know" to this question. tions across transportation organizations, but they raised The three most compelling arguments (of nine options question about whether three regions would be sufficient. provided) for TKNs were (1) providing one-stop shop- Participants also pointed out a need for incentives and sim- ping to make searching for transportation information ple processes for information sharing, indicating that every- easier, (2) creating opportunities to reuse/adapt analy- one knows it is the right thing to do, but that it is difficult sis tools and reports developed at peer agencies, and to make time for it. (3) improving ability to keep up with what peer agen- · See Appendix E for the full summary report. cies are doing. The least compelling arguments were (1) current invest- ment in transportation information services is very low Action Step 4--Individual Meetings compared to other fields and (2) the need and ability to with Key Stakeholders capture institutional knowledge before employees leave Objective: Facilitate a common vision and ownership of or retire. the business plan among identified key stakeholders. · Presentation was delivered at a CUTC meeting. Deliverables: · Talking points and specific questions about the political, financial, and marketing challenges. Action Step 3--Hold a Focus Group · Individual briefings between research team members for a Specific Target Market and representatives from the following agencies: KDOT, Objectives: Walk through the portal concept with a PennDOT, Mn/DOT, CalTrans, and the University of group of transportation professionals to find out what fea- Texas Center for Transportation Research.