Would minor map changes encourage Metro riders to shift their commutes? Would minor map changes encourage Metro riders to shift their commutes?
Would minor map changes encourage Metro riders to shift their commutes?
Would minor map changes encourage Metro riders to shift their commutes?
Ford’s Super Bowl ad captures where mobility is headed Ford’s Super Bowl ad captures where mobility is headed
Ford's Super Bowl ad captures where mobility is headed
Ford’s Super Bowl ad captures where mobility is headed
Record number of transit ballot measures will also impact transportation demand management Record number of transit ballot measures will also impact transportation demand management
Record number of transit ballot measures will also impact transportation demand management
Record number of transit ballot measures will also impact transportation demand management
Benefits of reliable transit: How transit agencies and planners should be talking about BRT Benefits of reliable transit: How transit agencies and planners should be talking about BRT
Benefits of reliable transit: How transit agencies and planners should be talking about BRT
Benefits of reliable transit: How transit agencies and planners should be talking about BRT
Watch and learn: What transit agencies can pick up from other industries Watch and learn: What transit agencies can pick up from other industries
Watch and learn: What transit agencies can pick up from other industries
Watch and learn: What transit agencies can pick up from other industries

How can better TDM outreach help change commuters’ minds?

The transportation demand management industry and, even more broadly, non-automotive transportation options have a communications problem. The goal, moving people safely, cleanly, and efficiently, is clear, but it may not across as such to stakeholders and decision-makers.

What changes could we make, as an industry, in how we talk about changing commutes and trying new modes, to better reach audiences? Could simple changes like a common definition of the term “transportation demand management” help the industry find other funding sources, better lobby for policies, and gain wider popularity?

Whether it’s telling the stories about how people in their daily lives, or focusing on positive messaging, many agencies are finding new, effective ways to communicate transportation options.

Popular Communications Stories

CMAQ unfair

Rebranding “TDM” could fix the industry’s communications struggle

Would a common definition of the term and practice of TDM help the industry find other funding sources, lobby better, and gain wider acceptance and popularity?

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Prius SB50 web

Where Are the Super Bowl-esque Ads About Public Transportation?

When it comes to communicating that people have transportation options besides their own drive-alone cars, the transit industry is getting its lunch handed to it, and has been for decades.

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Crosswalk girl-Kittner_20151008_8714

When it comes to traffic safety, fun beats fear

Driver outreach based in humorous and clear, instead of pedestrian-blaming fear, can be more effective.

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Recent Communications News

Would minor map changes encourage Metro riders to shift their commutes?

Would minor map changes encourage Metro riders to shift their commutes?


February 23, 2017    Adam Russell

SafeTrack surges in the past months have highlighted one of of the D.C. Metrorail system’s largest demand crunches: the Rosslyn tunnel bottleneck, where the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines converge to head east into downtown. This capacity issue has been exacerbated by the 2014 Silver line opening, and more recently by the current Blue line shutdown… Read more »

Ford’s Super Bowl ad captures where mobility is headed

Ford’s Super Bowl ad captures where mobility is headed


February 6, 2017    Paul Mackie

Besides a stunner of a Super Bowl between New England and Atlanta, there was a lot to like in between the snaps as well. Lady Gaga thrilled at halftime and cinematic TV commercials were unveiled left and right. But in Mobility Lab’s space, Ford Motor Company really took the cake as the top ad. It… Read more »

Record number of transit ballot measures will also impact transportation demand management

Record number of transit ballot measures will also impact transportation demand management


November 4, 2016    Paul Mackie

Election Day this upcoming Tuesday will be a crucial one for the future of public transportation in this country. This election sets records for the most transit measures ever in a single year (77), the highest number of states with measures on either state or local ballots (25), and the most money at stake on… Read more »

Benefits of reliable transit: How transit agencies and planners should be talking about BRT

Benefits of reliable transit: How transit agencies and planners should be talking about BRT


October 12, 2016    Corey Pitts

Bus Rapid Transit systems are beginning to pop up as quickly as fast-casual restaurants in the greater Washington region. Everywhere you look BRT systems are coming online – Fairfax, Arlington and Montgomery counties, and the City of Alexandria. And why shouldn’t D.C. be joining the ranks of New York, Chicago, and Barcelona? The region consistently ranks as… Read more »

Watch and learn: What transit agencies can pick up from other industries

Watch and learn: What transit agencies can pick up from other industries


August 25, 2016    Paul Mackie

Public transportation could learn key messaging lessons from unlikely places The public transportation industry needs a “brand rehabilitation,” and educating people about transportation options is a huge part of that recovery. With so many positive elements in transit and non-driving transportation options – community-building, productivity, healthiness, cost savings, stress reduction – it should be a… Read more »

Communicating transportation options, on “Talking Headways” podcast

Communicating transportation options, on “Talking Headways” podcast


July 11, 2016    Adam Russell

How can cities and transit agencies better reach out to commuters and guide them towards modes that aren’t driving alone? How is the transportation landscape changing to include a greater breadth of transportation options? Mobility Lab’s communications director Paul Mackie recently discussed these questions and more with host Jeff Wood on the transportation and urbanism podcast Talking Headways. Referencing a communications… Read more »

Transit industry could look to an unlikely source for marketing inspiration: automakers

Transit industry could look to an unlikely source for marketing inspiration: automakers


June 7, 2016    Paul Mackie

Automakers have always been one of the envies of the marketing world. They sold us on cars over horses. They sold us on how we should think bicycling and walking are abnormal compared to driving. Mobility Lab is a media sponsor at the 16th Annual TU-Automotive Detroit conference in Novi, Mich., which bills itself as the oldest existing yearly… Read more »

Is “on-demand” the missing ingredient in carpooling?

Is “on-demand” the missing ingredient in carpooling?


May 11, 2016    Paul Mackie

New app RideFlag seeks to make carpooling instantaneous The jury is still out on how much traffic is being alleviated by ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. But we’ve known for decades how much carpooling and vanpooling programs cut down on road congestion. About 11 percent of U.S. commuters pool on their way to work,… Read more »

Publicly visible transit info helps people make smart decisions

Publicly visible transit info helps people make smart decisions


April 25, 2016    Matt Caywood

Displays make the process of taking transit easier A longer version of this post originally appeared on the TransitScreen blog. There’s a trillion-dollar trend called the ‘Internet of Things” – simply put, adding small computers to physical objects, and connecting everything together over the internet so useful information can be collected. When a recent McKinsey… Read more »

When it comes to traffic safety, fun beats fear

When it comes to traffic safety, fun beats fear


April 15, 2016    Andrew Carpenter

Being a pedestrian is, unfortunately, an increasingly dangerous proposition in many communities throughout the United States. A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association shows that, just between 2014 and 2015, pedestrian deaths grew 10 percent. In many regions, public safety campaigns are a go-to tactic to address the widespread issue of pedestrian safety. But… Read more »

10 books about fighting for and building people-first cities

10 books about fighting for and building people-first cities


February 26, 2016    Chris Hamilton

These inspiring leaders have authored 10 great and recent books on how to design and build walk-, bike-, transit-, and people-friendly cities, showing us the strategies to make the places we call home more prosperous, green, healthy and happy as a result. Read them and join the revolution. People and businesses want to be in… Read more »

Where are the Super Bowl-esque ads about public transportation?

Where are the Super Bowl-esque ads about public transportation?


February 10, 2016    Paul Mackie

When it comes to communicating that people have transportation options besides their own drive-alone cars, the transit industry is getting its lunch handed to it, and has been for decades. It must face that it’s a fringe player that wants to become mainstream. And it’s not getting any easier. While we hear so many great stories about options… Read more »