The world’s most elegant public transit campaign – CityLab The world’s most elegant public transit campaign – CityLab
The world's most elegant public transit campaign - CityLab
The world’s most elegant public transit campaign – CityLab
Why would Denver RTD want its mascot to be a total jerk? Why would Denver RTD want its mascot to be a total jerk?
Why would Denver RTD want its mascot to be a total jerk?
Why would Denver RTD want its mascot to be a total jerk?
Inspiring transit ridership requires meeting people where they are Inspiring transit ridership requires meeting people where they are
Inspiring transit ridership requires meeting people where they are
Inspiring transit ridership requires meeting people where they are
Our Daily newsletter: We think you should subscribe Our Daily newsletter: We think you should subscribe
Our Daily newsletter: We think you should subscribe
Our Daily newsletter: We think you should subscribe
Arizona DOT’s quirky messaging is working – Arizona State Press Arizona DOT’s quirky messaging is working – Arizona State Press
Arizona DOT's quirky messaging is working - Arizona State Press
Arizona DOT’s quirky messaging is working – Arizona State Press

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

The world’s most elegant public transit campaign – CityLab

The world’s most elegant public transit campaign – CityLab


April 7, 2017    Mobility Lab Web

As an antidote to our distaste for Denver’s latest transit messaging, a wave of enjoyment is rushing over us to see the pure joy and inspiration Toronto is building for its public-transportation options. The Toronto Transit Commission has a new fleet of subway and streetcars, so why not show them off in style? In its latest… Read more »

Why would Denver RTD want its mascot to be a total jerk?

Why would Denver RTD want its mascot to be a total jerk?


April 7, 2017    Paul Mackie

Yes, we get it, there are rude jerks on mass transit everywhere. But once again, it seems like the public-transportation industry is missing an opportunity. With the Denver Regional Transportation District’s ridership heading downward, couldn’t the system try inspiring people about its product rather than highlighting the things that people think are its worst aspects? A… Read more »

Inspiring transit ridership requires meeting people where they are

Inspiring transit ridership requires meeting people where they are


March 31, 2017    Angela Urban

Preferences and need are major factors that influence whether people take public transportation. And communicating to those people in the places they visit throughout their day is a key to improving and inspiring transit ridership. A new report from the American Public Transportation Association, Who Rides Public Transportation?, reveals insights that will be useful to… Read more »

Our Daily newsletter: We think you should subscribe

Our Daily newsletter: We think you should subscribe


March 31, 2017    Paul Mackie

Are you in the transportation demand management industry? Are you in the wider fields of public transportation, planning, or technology? If the answer is yes, then chances are that you care about how people think about their transportation choices. We’ve mostly gotten into our cars and driven alone for the past 100 years. But now… Read more »

Arizona DOT’s quirky messaging is working – Arizona State Press

Arizona DOT’s quirky messaging is working – Arizona State Press


March 30, 2017    Mobility Lab Web

The Arizona Department of Transportation’s recent efforts to add a little fun to its traffic safety messaging is a nice model for all kinds of messaging for public-transportation agencies and advocates. Efforts such as messaging contests for the public and using pop-culture references in highway digital signage have created massive new social-media audiences for the… Read more »

Swedish ad perfectly skewers self-driving hype – The Verge

Swedish ad perfectly skewers self-driving hype – The Verge


March 29, 2017    Mobility Lab Web

The hype and mystery surrounding the technology behind (and impact of) autonomous vehicles can reach a fever pitch all too easily. It’s likely that while AVs change some things, for many people the benefits can already be achieved through transit. One ad for a Swedish transit agency has produced an ad that elegantly makes this… Read more »

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 »