B2−5: Public Outreach to Increase use of Transportation Management Plan (TMP) Strategies
For projects that are expected to cause high levels of traffic congestion, a comprehensive transportation management plan (TMP) that includes a range of public outreach and demand management strategies can help maintain adequate mobility. In Oregon and Washington, a multi−jurisdictional, bi−state Traffic Management Team worked together to develop a TMP to lessen the traffic impacts anticipated with the closure of the northbound I−5 Interstate Bridge crossing the Columbia River. The TMP included a public outreach effort to advise commuters in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, of travel alternatives that would help relieve severe traffic congestion. A common theme in the outreach effort was that commuters need to share responsibility by taking initiative to change their commute habits during the closure.
The Team recognized that employers would be key in allowing commuters to use alternate commute options and to share information about these options. An employer outreach program was established targeting all employers with 50 or more employees crossing the Columbia River. Phone contacts were made, followed by mailing information packets. ODOT later conducted company presentations to provide an overview of the project and explain commute alternatives to employees.
The Team also recognized that a news media partnership would be necessary to communicate traffic management strategies to the public. A series of press releases were issued through the summer to provide periodic updates on the project with a final advertising campaign three weeks prior to the closure. This advertising campaign promoted commuter options by distributing maps and brochures from displays in retail centers and placement of advertisements in print and radio mediums.
REASON(S) FOR ADOPTING:
The TMP developed for this project contained 13 strategies, one of which was a public outreach program targeted to commuters and employers. It was recognized that public participation would be integral in achieving the goal of a26 percent reduction in trips.
Benefits included a high level of community awareness of the project and a trip reduction of 19 percent. Other benefits were an increased level of awareness of transit alternatives in the corridor and a renewed interest in HOV lanes in the metropolitan area. Future projects on the Interstate Bridge can use the TMP for this project as a "roadmap" for how to stage similar projects without gridlock.
MOST APPLICABLE LOCATION(S)/PROJECT(S):
Use of public outreach efforts to inform the public is most effective in urban areas with good radio/newspaper/television broadcast coverage, and several large employers.
STATE(S) WHERE USED:
Jeff Graham, FHWA Oregon Division Office
Phone: (503) 587−4727