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2020 T R A N S I T C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 208 Research sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation Subject Areas Public Transportation â¢ Education and Training â¢ Passenger Transportation Strategic Communications to Improve Support for Transit-Priority Projects: Report and Toolkit Christopher Forinash NelsoN\Nygaard CoNsultiNg assoCiates Washington, D.C.
TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 208 Project J-11/Task 29 ISSN 2572-3782 ISBN 978-0-309-48106-9 Â© 2020 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FRA, FTA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, PHMSA, or TDC endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. NOTICE The research report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the Transit Cooperative Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report. TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM The nationâs growth and the need to meet mobility, environmental, and energy objectives place demands on public transit systems. Cur- rent systems, some of which are old and in need of upgrading, must expand service area, increase service frequency, and improve efficiency to serve these demands. Research is necessary to solve operating prob- lems, adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Coopera- tive Research Program (TCRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the transit industry can develop innovative near-term solutions to meet demands placed on it. The need for TCRP was originally identified in TRB Special Report 213âResearch for Public Transit: New Directions, published in 1987 and based on a study sponsored by the Urban Mass Transportation Administrationânow the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). A report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Transportation 2000, also recognized the need for local, problem- solving research. TCRP, modeled after the successful National Coop- erative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), undertakes research and other technical activities in response to the needs of transit ser- vice providers. The scope of TCRP includes various transit research fields including planning, service configuration, equipment, facilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and administrative practices. TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. Proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was authorized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum agreement outlining TCRP operating procedures was executed by the three cooperating organi- zations: FTA; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, acting through the Transportation Research Board (TRB); and the Transit Development Corporation, Inc. (TDC), a nonprofit educational and research organization established by APTA. TDC is responsible for forming the independent governing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Commission. Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodically but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the responsibility of the TOPS Commission to formulate the research program by identi- fying the highest priority projects. As part of the evaluation, the TOPS Commission defines funding levels and expected products. Once selected, each project is assigned to an expert panel appointed by TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests for propos- als), select contractors, and provide technical guidance and counsel throughout the life of the project. The process for developing research problem statements and selecting research agencies has been used by TRB in managing cooperative research programs since 1962. As in other TRB activities, TCRP project panels serve voluntarily without compensation. Because research cannot have the desired effect if products fail to reach the intended audience, special emphasis is placed on disseminat- ing TCRP results to the intended users of the research: transit agen- cies, service providers, and suppliers. TRB provides a series of research reports, syntheses of transit practice, and other supporting material developed by TCRP research. APTA will arrange for workshops, train- ing aids, field visits, and other activities to ensure that results are imple- mented by urban and rural transit industry practitioners. TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can cooperatively address common operational problems. TCRP results support and complement other ongoing transit research and training programs. Published research reports of the TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to http://www.national-academies.org and then searching for TRB Printed in the United States of America
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation improvements and innovation through trusted, timely, impartial, and evidence-based information exchange, research, and advice regarding all modes of transportation. The Boardâs varied activities annually engage about 8,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.
C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S CRP STAFF FOR TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 208 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Gwen Chisholm Smith, Manager, Transit Cooperative Research Program Dianne S. Schwager, Senior Program Officer Jarrel McAfee, Senior Program Assistant Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Natalie Barnes, Associate Director of Publications Ellen M. Chafee, Senior Editor TCRP PROJECT J-11/TASK 29 PANEL Field of Special Projects Mindy Rhindress, Queens College, CUNY, Flushing, NY (Chair) Paul Mackie, Mobility Lab, Arlington, VA Susan Massel, Regional Transportation Authority, Chicago, IL Jon Orcutt, Bike New York, New York, NY Jacqueline K. Sheader, Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA), State College, PA Pauletta Tonilas, Regional Transportation District, Denver, CO Alicia Trost, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), Oakland, CA Amanda Wanke, Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART), Des Moines, IA Sarah Wyss, NYC Transit, New York, NY Valerie Berton, FTA Liaison Darnell Grisby, APTA Liaison
TCRP Research Report 208 presents effective communications strategies to gain public support for transit-priority projects. Transit-priority projects are efforts to improve transit service, particularly in terms of speed and reliability, by prioritizing the movement of transit vehicles over automobiles. The report and associated toolkit provide practical guidance to decision-makers and communications staff of public transportation agencies and other providers of transit services who strive to improve communications with local constituents and stakeholders. Transit-priority projects seek to improve transit service quality and mobility and to increase transit ridership. TCRP Research Report 208: Strategic Communications to Improve Support for Transit-Priority Projects: Report and Toolkit presents and analyzes (1) the communication approaches used by cities and transit agencies in the delivery of transit-priority projects and (2) the factors that make certain approaches more or less effective. Nelson\Nygaard performed TCRP Project J-11/Task 29 by conducting a survey and interviews with public transit agencies regarding completed and ongoing strategic communications efforts related to transit-priority projects in the United States and Canada. The report includes a toolkit that serves as a guide for cities and transit agencies. The research suggests that the following strategic communication practices are more likely to lead to successful project outcomes: â¢ Identifying key stakeholders early in the project planning process. â¢ Developing a coordinated strategic communications plan that targets stakeholder groups. â¢ Committing to strategic communications throughout a project lifecycle, particularly through the direct dedication of staff and resources to communication efforts. â¢ Adapting communication practices according to audience contexts and observed efficacy. â¢ Meaningfully engaging with key stakeholder groups, often in hyperlocal contexts. The toolkit highlights decision-making needs, discusses the efficacy and reach of various communication methods, identifies common challenges, discusses factors for success, and provides examples from projects studied for this research. The toolkit is intended as a guide for agencies at the outset of a transit-priority project, particularly for those unaccustomed to implementing strategic communications efforts. It is not intended to serve as a rigid structure or template for a strategic communications programâcities and transit agencies should adapt its lessons to their local and project-specific contexts. F O R E W O R D By Dianne S. Schwager Staff Officer Transportation Research Board
1 Section 1 Overview 1 Research Summary 1 Background 2 Key Terms 3 Primary Findings 3 Limitations 4 Section 2 Research Approach 4 Transit Agency/City Survey 5 Transit Agency/City Interviews 5 Case Study Write-Ups 6 Section 3 Strategic Communications Toolkit 6 Strategic Communications Guidance 16 Examples of Effective Strategic Communications 20 Key Takeaways 21 Section 4 Case Studies 22 CMAX Cleveland Avenue Bus Rapid Transit 24 L Taraval Rapid Project 26 16th Street NW Bus Lanes Project 28 Regional Transit Signal Priority Program 30 Northeast Grand Avenue Transit Lane 32 Alum Rock/Santa Clara Bus Rapid Transit 34 Key Takeaways 35 Section 5 Survey Approach and Results 35 Project Details 35 Communications Strategy Initiation and Intent 38 Outreach Methods 40 Channels of Communication 40 Strategy Evaluation 41 Communications Successes and Challenges 44 Section 6 Conclusion 45 Appendix A Transit Agency/City Contact List 47 Appendix B Transit Agency Survey 55 Appendix C Interview Instrument C O N T E N T S