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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis December 16, 2011
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Spreading the Word About Public Transportation: Disseminating Its Many Benefits; Helping Members Make Its Case
BY SUSAN R. PAISNER, Senior Managing Editor

The Communications and Marketing Department contributed in making the case for how critical public transportation is to all Americans and how it benefits everyone. In a down economy, and as gas prices fluctuated, APTA took the opportunity to create a variety of materials and events including advertisements, petitions, surveys, and brochures, and held an array of activities—all focused on the message that public transit creates and supports jobs, and can help bolster the economy.

Social Media Outreach
Throughout the year, APTA expanded its social media presence to reach out to even more people and disseminate its message.

This Spring the association launched a new Facebook page – Public Transportation – and in just a few months the page soared to more than 100,000 “likes.” These followers are passionate, engaged, and ready to act. Our Twitter handle – @APTA_Transit – has more than 1,300 followers.

All this means that APTA has instant access to tens of thousands of people who have expressed a strong interest in public transportation advocacy. It also greatly expands APTA’s outreach capabilities through such initiatives as sending letters to Congress and participation in local events. For example, APTA generated thousands of letters to Congress speaking out against cuts in public transportation.

Clinton/Reagan Ad
APTA partnered with the American Road & Transportation Builders Association to launch a radio and television ad campaign featuring former Presidents William J. Clinton and Ronald Reagan. The commercials, which were distributed nationally and locally in the Washington, DC area, took a bi-partisan tone and were aimed at inserting transportation investment into the ongoing congressional debate about the federal budget and future investment priorities.

Gas Prices Study/Radio Media Tour
APTA held a national radio media tour featuring several public transportation general managers who discussed an APTA study, “Potential Impact of Gasoline Price Increases on U.S. Public Transportation Ridership, 2011-2012.” This outreach garnered stories in more than 20 major national and local print outlets, including 24 segments on radio stations from Los Angeles to Atlanta.

Don’t X Out Public Transportation Day
“Don’t X Out Public Transportation Day” was the advocacy effort of a national rally day and call to action highlighting the drastic effects a 35 percent cut to federal transit funding would have and the need for increased investment in public transportation.

Working with our partners Transportation for America, Reconnecting America, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and the Transport Workers Union, rally events were held in more than a dozen locations, including major hubs at Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, and Providence. Media coverage included The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Hill, Streetsblog, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Progressive Railroading.

Public Transportation’s New ‘Green’ Stamp
Public transportation’s “green” contributions to the nation were recognized with a new stamp released by the United States Postal Service. APTA partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency on the commemorative stamp to raise awareness of simple actions everyone can take to conserve natural resources and promote the health of their environment.

Online Buyers’ Guide
APTA introduced its new Online Buyers’ Guide, a user-friendly tool for the public transportation industry that provides instant access to vendor resources.

The interactive guide—available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year—allows public transit professionals to easily locate APTA members’ products and professional services geared to bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne passenger services, high-speed rail, and more by providing hyperlinks, multiple search capabilities, and rich search results. Additionally, the guide will help increase supplier exposure in the marketplace.

Dump the Pump
APTA held its 6th Annual National Dump the Pump Day in June. More than 125 public transit systems, state transit associations, and vendors highlighted the environmental, economic, and energy-saving benefits of taking public transit.

APTA also produced its annual Green Travel Forecast. The summer edition surveyed more than 34,000 people nationwide about their summer travel plans and intent to use public transit. Survey results received frequent media coverage in travel stories, enabling APTA to reach new audiences. APTA continued its monthly outreach with the Transit Savings Report promoting the use of public transit as the demand for services increases.

The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), managed by APTA, continued its outreach and dissemination efforts this year by exhibiting at more than 40 venues, including state association conferences, the Community Transportation Association’s EXPO, and Rail~Volution.

The program also selected 18 new ambassadors to serve as liaisons to the industry by participating in events and visiting transportation providers to inform them about the wide variety of solution-based research products TCRP makes available. The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials manages the TCRP Ambassador Program. Lastly, TCRP’s Dissemination Program will have a fresh look in 2012 with a new web site design and marketing materials.

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