2011, Sept 20 presentation - roundabout conference

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This is the presentation I gave on roundabout marketing as part of the FHWA peer-to-peer exchange in Atlanta, Georgia, in September 2011. It's about how to successfully move roundabouts through the public process and get them built.

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  • Dustin Terpening 8 years w/ communications team. Communications degree from Western Washington University. I’m not an engineer… I leave the math to you. I work on lot more than just roundabout projects.
  • - Work closely with engineering teams to plan, design and build roundabouts. - Here to share my experience w/ roundabouts and what’s worked well when it comes to promoting them. - I’m passionate about roundabouts.
  • “ Selling” roundabouts for six years. Lots of controversial projects. Never “lost” a roundabout to public discourse Lost one to the legislature and funding, but it was “sold” already. - 16 on highways in my neck of the woods. - Single/double-lane roundabouts - 50 mph highways Interchanges Truck routes - 23 total - Can’t take credit for all our roundabout successes. - Surrounded by many smart, gifted, passionate people. - Lucky enough to represent those I work with.
  • Been fairly successful building roundabouts statewide. Built our first in 1997 65 on state roads 215 on city, county and state owned roads. 80-plus jurisdictions w/ roundabouts Have lost our fair share to discourse and politics Every roundabout we build makes it easier to build the next. For perspective, population of WA is 6.6 million
  • I think we all know roundabouts can be controversial. They’re still relatively new, different; and people don’t like change. Must be prepared defend/market our roundabouts. Elected officials, reporters, bosses, neighborhoods, businesses, drivers breathing down your neck. They’ll call you crazy, idiotic, stupid. It’s possible to get those roundabouts built. Have to be willing to advocate for roundabouts with marketing, education and public involvement.
  • Knowing they’re controversial, how should we approach a roundabout project? About the time you start considering a roundabout is about the time you need to start your outreach. First thing I did when my project team came to me and said they were thinking about building four roundabouts on SR 539 was put together a strategic communication plan. Comm plan: It’s your roadmap, your game plan to advocating for the roundabout. You need it to be prepared for the shockwaves. It’s not a book; it’s only a couple pages long. Target audiences Key messages Communication tactics Describe the problem – (wrote a sample) Not everyone can agree on the solution, but we can usually all agree on the problem.
  • We’ve got a strategic plan, now what? These are the steps we took to build informed consent on my SR 539 project. -Informed consent: Your opponents agree that there’s a problem that needs to be solved, and even though they don’t like your solution, they let you build it because something needs to be done. They disagree, but they don’t disagree enough to take action against your project. - Get internal consent/support - You need to know that upper management will support you. - Get elected officials on your side - Who do the people turn to first if they don’t like something? - Contact local jurisdictions as necessary - Go to the media - Plan previous meetings carefully - media could get the story from someone else. - You really want them to get it from you – be the first and best source of info. - You don’t want them breaking the story from an upset citizen, business, politician, etc. - Once story breaks you’ll get hit from all sides – emails, phone calls, letters to the editor, etc. - Go to the people - Meet with special interest groups - Truckers, emergency services, farmers, businesses, neighborhoods.
  • I could do a whole presentation on this alone. But if there’s one thing I want you to take away, it’s be the first and best source of info! Don’t be afraid of the media. Best way to reach a large audience. Prepare in advance for interviews. Do practice interviews. Be prepared to answer the hard questions. - Meet in person - Can convey a lot more info in person than you can over the phone. - Two to three people max - Give them roundabout 101 training (My reporter, Jared, loves a good controversial story. ) Online news story comments can be nasty. Don’t shy away - respond! Pro tips: - Be forthright about who you are. State your name and title and contact information. - Stick to the facts. Don’t argue with idiots. - Provide links to more information. - I’ve had a lot of success responding to comments. Even tends to help steer the commenting in a positive direction. People appreciate the answers.
  • Media stories will garner you lots of fan mail. Remember, the whole point of your outreach isn’t to find people who support your effort. It’s to lure the angry people out of the weeds. - You want those who adamantly oppose your project - your biggest critics - the ones who will lay down on the tracks to stop your project. -You’d rather have them come to you than the media or elected officials, right? You want them at the beginning, not in the 11 th hour. Now you can work with them. -You get to a point where you both agree on the problem, acknowledge something needs to be done – they may not like the solution, but they give you informed consent to build it. Pro-tips for correspondence -Respond promptly and courteously. Don’t wait a week to respond. -I choose the phone whenever possible. -Give them the amazing stats and facts. You won’t convert them all to roundabout lovers, but you’ll show them some thought has gone into this.
  • Website It’s our one-stop shopping for all things roundabouts Designed with statewide use/purpose – not just project specific Use it all the time Videos Made video and put on DVD Posted on YouTube – More than 62,000 views to just one of the five videos Gave to Libraries, Drivers Ed teachers, Law enforcement FHWA has a pretty great video now that can be used by anyone. Post pictures on Flickr Share those pictures on Twitter, Facebook, Blogger and email updates Generate conversations on Facebook, Twitter and Blogs
  • Idea was educating adults through kids Similar to Twister Safe place to learn how to drive a roundabout Take it to all your community meetings
  • Intent was to show all large vehicles they can fit through the roundabout Trucks, Farm equipment, Emergency services, Buses, Oversize loads Invite media to the event “ If they build it this big, we’ll have no problem getting through.” Take pictures/video and share on Flickr or website Used this numerous times across the state Really helps squelch concerns
  • -It’s a lot of work and effort, especially if it’s the first roundabout in the area. -Now that we’ve built so many in my area, the word roundabout is no longer an instant headline. -Hopefully, you will be rewarded with great headlines and positive results for your proactive outreach.
  • 2011, Sept 20 presentation - roundabout conference

    1. 1. Roundabouts Marketing, Education and Public Involvement Southeastern U.S. Roundabouts Peer Exchange Atlanta, GA September 22, 2011 Dustin Terpening WSDOT Communications
    2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Washington State Department of Transportation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communications team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>8 years </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Communications degree </li></ul></ul></ul>
    3. 3. I’m here today because… <ul><li>Work with engineering teams </li></ul><ul><li>Share my experience </li></ul><ul><li>Love roundabouts </li></ul>
    4. 4. My roundabout experience <ul><li>Marketing roundabouts for six years </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lots of controversial projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Never “lost” a roundabout to discourse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>16 roundabouts on state highways </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>23 total (city, county, state) </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Washington’s roundabouts <ul><li>Built first in 1997 • 65 on state routes • 215 total </li></ul>
    6. 6. Roundabouts are controversial <ul><li>Headline: Woodland council set to hear roundabout concerns </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We won’t be able to come through that interchange ,” Johnson said. “ For them to add a cost burden to us is unacceptable .” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We were here first ,” she said, comparing her trucks to the roundabout. “ They shouldn’t screw it up .” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Champion roundabouts with marketing, education and public involvement </li></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>Start outreach early </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic communication plan </li></ul><ul><li>Problem statement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hard to agree on the solution. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sample: The intersection has a history of nasty crashes and congestion. In the last five years, 56 people have been injured and two people have died, and congestion is horrendous during the morning and afternoon commutes. </li></ul></ul>Be proactive, not reactive
    8. 8. Take steps to build informed consent <ul><li>Internal – need upper-management support </li></ul><ul><li>Elected officials – first people to hear complaints </li></ul><ul><li>Other agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Media – be the first and best source of information </li></ul><ul><li>Special interest groups – go to the people </li></ul>
    9. 9. Work with the media <ul><li>Don’t be afraid </li></ul><ul><li>Meet in person </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to online comments </li></ul>Traffic Talk a transportation blog written by Jared Paben
    10. 10. Fan mail <ul><li>You want the biggest critics </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Better you than the media </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Listen. Learn. Teach. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Agree on the problem </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Informed consent - let you build the project, albeit begrudgingly </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Respond promptly </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>And courteously </li></ul></ul></ul>“ Sir, we are in America. We are used to stoplights. What we need is a system of stoplights, complete with the directional arrows and a wider roadway with shoulders of sufficient width on each side. We do NOT need roundabouts.” - Adoring fan “ There is no reason in this world for the DOT to put these very much unwanted things on our highways. None. Stop lights work. Always have, always will. Please don't go against the will of the people who actually live here.” - #1 fan
    11. 11. Get creative Find unique ways to reach out and educate your audience <ul><li>Roundabout website </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Flickr </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Blogger </li></ul><ul><li>Email updates </li></ul>Social Media
    12. 12. Get creative Find unique ways to reach out and educate your audience <ul><li>Educating adults through kids </li></ul><ul><li>Similar to Twister </li></ul><ul><li>Safe place to learn to drive a roundabout </li></ul><ul><li>Take to all community meetings </li></ul>Walkabout
    13. 13. Get creative Find unique ways to reach out and educate your audience <ul><li>Temporary life-size roundabout </li></ul><ul><li>Intended for trucks, farm equipment, buses, emergency responders </li></ul><ul><li>Large vehicles can drive through roundabouts </li></ul><ul><li>Invite the media </li></ul><ul><li>Take pictures and video </li></ul>Roundabout rodeo
    14. 14. Positive headlines This is what you work so hard for <ul><li>More roundabouts are good – Lynden Tribune </li></ul><ul><li>Roundabouts worth pursuing – Bellingham Herald </li></ul><ul><li>Early stats validate roundabouts – Bellingham Herald </li></ul><ul><li>Put a roundabout at Sharpes Corner – Anacortes American </li></ul><ul><li>Purposeful planning has roundabout moving in right direction – Skagit Valley Herald </li></ul><ul><li>Roundabout solutions a solid way to go – Skagit Valley Herald </li></ul>

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