B2−6: Public Outreach Efforts to Increase Participation in Traffic Management Plan (TMP) Strategies
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 of the Columbia River. As a strategy identified in the TMP, the Oregon and Washington State DOT undertook 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 in some responsibility for the "problem," and are encouraged to take the initiative to change their commute habits during the closure.
It was recognized that employers would be key in allowing commuters to utilize commute options and to promote and disseminate options for how people can get to work. An employer outreach program was established targeting employers with 50 or more employees crossing the Columbia River. Three types of contact were used with employers. Telephone contacts were made initially, followed by mailings which included information packets, followed by company presentations to provide an overview of the project and explain commute alternatives to employees.
It was 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 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:
A TMP was adopted for this project and it contained 13 strategies, one of which was a public outreach program that was crafted to provide information to commuters and employers. It was recognized that public participation would be integral in achieving the targeted 26 percent reduction in trips.
Benefits included a high level of community awareness of the project. A trip reduction of 19 percent was realized. 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 will have a "roadmap" in the TMP to follow in order to stage 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, and television broadcast coverage.
STATE(S) WHERE UTILIZED:
Jeff Graham, Operations Engineer, FHWA Oregon Division Office
Telephone: (503) 587−4727