Communicating About Funding Needs

Report
Communicating
About Funding
Needs
AASHTO Subcommittee
on Transportation
Finance Policy (SOTFP)
Oct 18, 2013
The Problem
Transportation is severely underfunded,
but “appeals for action fall on deaf ears.”
Is this our story?
“Total public spending on the capital
needs for highways and bridges was
approximately $40 billion [last
year]…
in 1993
an additional $16 billion annually is
needed just to maintain — not
improve— the condition of the nation’s
highways at the [current]
1993 level.”
Not much has changed
“Combined highway spending by all
levels of government at its [current]
in 2008
level of $91 billion is projected to
results in a decline in … condition and
performance. [To] maintain conditions
and performance … would cost $170
billion per year over 20 years.”
The Report continues on to say…
•
•
•
•
•
•
Highway safety has improved
Operational performance has stabilized
Pavement conditions have improved
Bridge conditions have improved
Transit is almost everywhere
Transit is getting safer
“Should I believe the pundits
or my own eyes?”
- Washington Post editorial titled,
“The US infrastructure argument
that crumbles upon examination,”
October 31, 2011
But we know there is a problem
Peer Exchange Survey Question:
“What best describes your DOT’s funding situation?”
21%
Adequate for today
but worried about
the future
79%
Not adequate to
meet current needs
And the public knows it too
“In general, the public remains receptive
to the message that smart transportation
investments can make a positive longterm contribution to economic growth,
U.S. competitiveness, and job creation.
- Miller Center 2011 report,
Are We There Yet? Selling
America on Transportation
So why aren’t we heard?
Kurt Vonnegut’s Story Shapes
A Man Without a Country
Published in 2005
Man in Hole
Boy Meets Girl
Cinderella
Kafka
What’s our story shape?
The Miller Report recommends:
1. A positive, forward-looking tone framed
around economic growth, jobs,
competitiveness and quality of life
2. A well-designed and flexible campaign
3. A focus on building broader engagement
There is a formula
Audience
Identification
Message
Design
Message
Delivery
Market
Research
The Four Building Blocks
The Outcome –
Messages that Stick
1. Show transportation matters
2. Get transportation recognized
3. Incubate a network of
transportation supporters
4. Orchestrate a call-to-action
Audience Identification
and Segmentation
Who are your customers and
how are their interests related?
Audience Identification
Interest/Influence Matrix
Large
Promoters
Latents
Supportive
Legislators
Opposed
Legislators
Local Chambers
Influence
Apathetics
Local Officials
Construction
Industry
Defenders
Law
Enforcement
Local
Government
Staff
Commuters
Small
Low
High
Interest
Market Research
Do you really know what
your customers think?
What do they value?
Message Content
Creation of concise and
compelling messages is as much
an art as a science
The Science: What Goes In
•
•
•
•
DOT environment
Technical information
Customer values
Strategic tie-ins
•
•
•
•
•
•
The Art: Making it Stick
Simple
Unexpected
Credible
Emotional
Stay positive
Story-based
Try a metaphor …
We can’t just focus on the bad roads
We must also prevent the good
roads from going bad
Design good charts
Noninterstate PL-3
17.9%
1.2%
0.7%
0.0%
0.8%
1.0%
0.5%
0.7%
7.3%
5.3%
12.2%
4.4%
6.6%
7.4%
Percent of system miles in performance level
94.0%85.6%
96.9%88.4%
89.2%
93.1%
72.2%
69.8%
51.7%
58.4%
60.7%
67.9%
69.9%
63.1%
66.3%
16.2%
7.4%
0.0%
14.0%
10.0%
11.6%
20.0%
49.4%
30.0%
43.4% 19.3%
40.0%
57.6%
50.0%
49.2%
60.0%
60.1%
62.2%
70.0%
89.6%
80.0%
83.2%
78.7%
90.0%
85.1%
PL-1 are pavements in good condition
PL-3 are pavements in deteriorated condition
90.1%
100.0%
94.7%
Noninterstate PL-1
97.0%
Interstate PL-3
97.3%
Interstate PL-1
1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Percent of pavement in good condition
100%
90%
Customer Expectations: 85%
80%
2011: 82%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
1985
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
Message Delivery
How do you effectively reach the
most customers?
Message
Delivery
How DOTs
Communicate
Today….
Internal Presentations
The Duct Tape
Won’t Last Forever
Executive Staff Briefing
11/12/10
External Presentations
Contractors Association Meeting
Joe Spalling
DOT Pavement Professional
Brochures, Reports and
Handouts
Websites
Press Releases
Op-Eds
YouTube/Video
Social Media
Smart Phone Apps?
Surround Sound is the Key!
Top Lessons from
Last Year’s Peer Exchange
1. Talking meaningfully about very large numbers
can be difficult
2. Including projects in the discussion is often
inevitable
3. Start communications effort early
4. Identify and neutralize opponents
5. Communications strategy should rise to the
executive level
Top Lessons from
Last Year’s Peer Exchange
1. Focus groups can be very helpful
2. If credibility is your problem, address that first
3. When you present data, use solid visualization
techniques
4. Get your stakeholders on board – let them do the
talking for you
Additional Discussion Q’s
1. What haven’t we talked about?
2. How do the experiences we talked about in
Minnesota compare with the lessons learned?
3. Does the current political environment change
anything?
4. What might AASHTO do to support improved
communication?

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