Effective Public Outreach: Simplifying for Impact
March 29, 2010
A cornerstone of effective transportation planning lies in the realm of how well transportation professionals are able to clearly communicate concepts to stakeholders and the public. However large or small of a project, the daily lives of communities are impacted by the decisions of transportation engineers, planners, and leaders, and community support is an invaluable asset when moving forward on any plan. Public outreach can come in multiple different forms, but sometimes it’s the simplest, most creative demonstration that carries the largest punch.
A few years ago, former head of the Washington State DOT led a challenge to demonstrate effective public outreach techniques to simplify a complex issue.
In his challenge, carried by the Seattle Times, Secretary MacDonald said he would give $1000 of his own money to the person who could best communicate to the public the concept of through-put maximization. It means moving the maximum number of cars through a stretch of highway at the maximum speed.
You can watch the winning demonstration, using materials most people have around their homes, through YouTube.
Let us know what public outreach techniques you’ve seen or have been a part of using the comments section below. Whether interactive or informative, it’s always interesting to hear what others are doing to educate and engage the public in projects.