DC Commute Times hopes to build a transportation community DC Commute Times hopes to build a transportation community
DC Commute Times hopes to build a transportation community
DC Commute Times hopes to build a transportation community
Demand questions are the elephant in the room with autonomous vehicles Demand questions are the elephant in the room with autonomous vehicles
Demand questions are the elephant in the room with autonomous vehicles
Demand questions are the elephant in the room with autonomous vehicles
D.C. Metro’s Back2Good needs to aspire to more very, very soon D.C. Metro’s Back2Good needs to aspire to more very, very soon
D.C. Metro's Back2Good needs to aspire to more very, very soon
D.C. Metro’s Back2Good needs to aspire to more very, very soon
Mobility: How technology will shape the way we travel Mobility: How technology will shape the way we travel
Mobility: How technology will shape the way we travel
Mobility: How technology will shape the way we travel

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

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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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.

View more

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

DC Commute Times hopes to build a transportation community

DC Commute Times hopes to build a transportation community


September 8, 2017    Ethan Goffman

We are in a period rife with experiments in transportation, from the top down, from the bottom up, from government, large corporations, and individual entrepreneurs. One fresh effort is DC Commute Times, started by Jeff Wong in October of 2016 to integrate information about a regional transportation system many perceive as broken. Wong’s site includes… Read more »

Demand questions are the elephant in the room with autonomous vehicles

Demand questions are the elephant in the room with autonomous vehicles


August 29, 2017    Paul Mackie

Say you live 1.3 miles from a subway station or a bus route that would offer you direct access to your job. Then picture an autonomous vehicle looping through your neighborhood every 20 minutes or so to take you and your neighbors straight to that access point. All of a sudden, you would be pretty… Read more »

Are state DOTs finally getting creative with social media? – Talking Transportation


August 29, 2017    Mobility Lab Web

After years of tepid adoption of creative social-media use by transit agencies, a new report from AASHTO shows an impressive “wide-scale adoption of an entire suite of social-media tools by state transportation departments. And while traffic information is still a large reason for why states have invested in social media strategies, it no longer is… Read more »

D.C. Metro’s Back2Good needs to aspire to more very, very soon

D.C. Metro’s Back2Good needs to aspire to more very, very soon


August 10, 2017    Paul Mackie

How far D.C.’s Metrorail has come from the excellent Silver Line opening dance-party video to the whimpering current “Back2Good” campaign. There’s no doubt WMATA is at least being realistic, but as Marc Ferris writes to the Washington Post, “What company or official entity – public or private – strives to be good? No publisher would release business… Read more »

Mobility: How technology will shape the way we travel

Mobility: How technology will shape the way we travel


August 2, 2017    Christine Perlick

Next-generation technologies are changing the way we travel, how we define transportation, and mobility options. Paul Mackie, our communications director, recently joined Tech Pulse TV’s panel of transportation experts to discuss emerging technologies shaping mobility, and how we will define mobility in the future. Today, somewhere between 75 to 85 percent of the cars on… Read more »

Why you should care about other modes now

Why you should care about other modes now


August 1, 2017    Maggie Awad

This article is excerpted from an article at Arlington Transportation Partners. Not too long ago, I was biking down 14th Street and was halfway doored by an SUV that had pulled partially into the bike lane to drop off some passengers. I say halfway because I was able to slow my speed enough that the impact wasn’t completely jarring and… Read more »

Driver speed, texting is the new drunk driving

Driver speed, texting is the new drunk driving


July 20, 2017    Paul Mackie

Streetsblog’s Angie Schmitt brings to light a really important issue that we think about every day at Mobility Lab. She notes that Americans spend more time on average every day driving their cars than socializing with other people. And this is likely skewing the ways people think about and care about other people as they… Read more »

New podcast aims to change the conversation about public transit – NextCity

New podcast aims to change the conversation about public transit – NextCity


July 18, 2017    Mobility Lab Web

An intriguing podcast idea has been underway for a bit in the Twin Cities. Here to There, by local public affairs agency Apparatus along with Transit for Livable Communities and St. Paul Smart Trips, is a 10-episode series that looks at different ways people are affected by transportation. Co-host Laura Monn Ginsburg says the show is driven… Read more »

Transit should be uncluttered onboard and in its advertising

Transit should be uncluttered onboard and in its advertising


July 14, 2017    John Perry

Mobility Lab recently published an article on how transit agencies nationwide should pool their resources to do an advertising campaign they can all use. Now, I think marketing is overrated in general, but it has its purpose, and transit could use any boost it can get. That being said, I disagree with Ethan Goffman’s Mobility… Read more »

National advertising effort needed by local transit agencies

National advertising effort needed by local transit agencies


July 6, 2017    Ethan Goffman

Transit in this country faces an advertising challenge. With limited budgets, transit agencies are competing with a plethora of ads—and free, earned media attention—from more prestigious and hipper corporations such as Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Uber, and Lyft. I wonder if it would be possible for transit agencies to combine efforts – and budgets – in… Read more »

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 »