National Academies Press: OpenBook

Transportation Research Board 2021 Annual Report (2022)

Chapter:GOAL 6: Communication

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Suggested Citation:"GOAL 6: Communication." National Research Council. 2022. Transportation Research Board 2021 Annual Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26457.
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Suggested Citation:"GOAL 6: Communication." National Research Council. 2022. Transportation Research Board 2021 Annual Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26457.
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Suggested Citation:"GOAL 6: Communication." National Research Council. 2022. Transportation Research Board 2021 Annual Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26457.
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TRB 2021 AnnuAl RepoRT / 17 In July, TRB’s Executive Committee approved a new strategic communications plan, which outlines tactics most likely to help TRB meet and exceed the following documented commu- nications objectives: • Increase awareness of TRB products, activi- ties, and services; • Communicate the value of TRB to TRB sponsors, potential sponsors, and the larger transportation community; • Make TRB the “go-to,” essential, up-to-date source for information on transportation research–related issues; • Increase the impact of TRB in solving trans- portation and societal problems and issues; and • Increase the influence of staff, partners, and collaborators in communicating TRB’s infor- mation and messaging and helping to protect and enhance the reputation of TRB and the Academies. TRB continues to put the new strategic com- munications plan into practice, adding sub- strategies to the plan—including strategic and documented plans for social media, event promotion, influencer partnerships, and more. This strategic communication is aligned with and part of TRB’s overall strategic plan, which is currently being updated and scheduled to be approved in 2022. Staying Up to Date Following the successful launch of TRB’s new website in 2020, TRB rolled out an updated look and platform for its flagship weekly news- letter. TRB Weekly allows our tens of thousands of readers to tailor their subscriptions to get as little or as much transportation research news as they desire. The modernized layout and responsive design is perfectly suited for reading on phones, tablets, and smaller screens, in addition to laptops and desktops. It allows TRB to be more flexible and creative in curating content for the newsletter. In addition to TRB Weekly, three mode- specific listservs send out announcements of new projects, calls for nominations, calls for GOAL 6 Communication

18 / TRB 2021 AnnuAl RepoRT Communications for ARTS extended well beyond social media, with registered attend- ees including famed YouTuber Road Guy Rob and journalists from the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, WIRED, SiriusXM, and others. Ads for the symposium in TRB’s weekly e-newsletter and on the Transportation Research International Documentation (TRID) database garnered thousands of clicks weekly for more than a month. A conference-specific newsletter went out daily to registrants who subscribed. TRBAM Express, another new conference- specific newsletter, also debuted this year. The newsletter reached more than 20,000 attendees of the month-long Annual Meeting, with nine total issues. Updates to the meeting schedule, technical advice for accessing online presenta- tions, and social media coverage were some of the most popular items in the newsletters. Well-positioned products like TRB webinars have a loyal audience base but continue to attract new audiences. A survey of webinar at- tendees in 2021 found that 12 percent were new to TRB webinars. New Ways to Stay Up to Date TRB launched a new podcast series in 2021, TRB’s Transportation Explorers, in which hosts Elaine Ferrell and Paul Mackie interview problem statements, and requests for proposals as they arise. Listserv sub- scribers often are responsible for further spreading the message at their university transportation centers, professional groups, consultancies, or state DOTs. Reaching New Audiences These major changes to our website and newsletter will better allow us to stra- tegically grow our audience through these and other platforms, including our rapidly grow- ing social media presence. Among the findings in the TRR article “Twelve-Year Analysis of Transportation Research Board Annual Meet- ing’s Official Hashtag” is a need to implement and improve strategies that help transportation research communities encourage continu- ous and active participation during and after conferences.⁹ TRB gave additional attention to key spe- cialty conferences on social media. In a single week in July, TRB live-tweeted about ARTS and the How We Move Matters Environmen- tal Health Matters Initiative. Communicating more aggressively about ARTS allowed TRB to strengthen ties with an established audience, while communicating about How We Move Matters helped reach important audiences tra- ditionally focused on environmental health.

TRB 2021 AnnuAl RepoRT / 19 TRB volunteers on some of the hottest top- ics in transportation. The nearly two dozen episodes are available for subscribers or one- time listeners on all major podcast platforms. Former Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx discussed equity issues; Alicia Trost, Chief Communications Officer at San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit District, updated listeners on the Bay Area’s transportation efforts with the COVID-19 vaccine; and Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Shawn Wilson tackled climate change resilience. TRB’s still-new blog on its website con- tinues to corral the vast amount of research on all modes of transportation that is housed under our roof. The content is designed to give audiences an easy way to find exactly the research they need. The International Groov- ing and Grinding Association tweeted a link to its followers to TRB’s blog post on distracted driving, and AASHTO’s journal cited it.¹⁰ The author of a TRR paper thanked TRB on Twit- ter for including information presented in the research in a blog feature on work zone safety.¹¹ Kent State University featured TRB’s blog post on passenger transportation.¹² TRB continues to develop and maintain the Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) databases, including TRID and the Transportation Research Thesaurus (TRT). TRID is the world’s largest, most comprehen- sive bibliographic resource on published and ongoing transportation research, with more than 1.3 million records and more than 345,000 links to free or fee-based full text. TRID includes data sets and technical reports from state and federal DOTs; projects on ongoing, recently completed, or soon-to-be-started research from TRB’s Research in Progress database; and comprehensive coverage of peer- reviewed transportation journals. TRT provides a common and consistent lan- guage for use by producers and users of trans- portation information and is being modernized to increase its value to a growing community of stakeholders. The thesaurus comprises more than 12,000 terms, and its website features im- proved browse and search options, customized exports, and curated lists of “hot topic” terms.  Several TRB Executive Committee mem- bers joined Joe Biden’s presidential adminis- tration in 2021. Vicki Arroyo, 2019 Executive Committee chair, was appointed associate administrator of the Office of Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Execu- tive Committee member Nuria Fernandez was confirmed as Federal Transit Administrator. And Steve Cliff, the ex officio Executive Com- mittee member representing the California Air Resources Board, was appointed deputy admin- istrator of NHTSA. TRB volunteers spoke out about safety, equity, and climate change. Reese Brewer was quoted in Arkansas’s Fort Smith Times Record about equity, noting that adding microfreight hubs in often-underserved communities could be more fair and equitable for potentially mar- ginalized neighborhoods. A paper published in TRR, “Identification of Optimal Left-Turn Restriction Locations Using Heuristic Methods,” makes a safety case for removing left-turn lanes in cities and was covered by Popular Mechanics, ZME Science, and the Times of London. TRB volunteer Vikash Gayah furthered the message through an op-ed published in Wisconsin’s La Crosse Tribune and Missouri’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Inspired by NCHRP research, Missouri DOT will improve at least one of its own left turns by installing a “J-turn,” according to the Daily Journal Online. As climate change continues to threaten current and future transportation options, TRB volunteer Herby Lissade spoke with Smart Cities Dive about the feasibility for an under- ground transit loop in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

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The 2021 Annual Report summarizes TRB’s accomplishments in each of its major program areas and how TRB has served the nation and the global transportation professional community throughout the year. TRB provides leadership in transportation improvements and innovation through trusted, timely, impartial, and evidence-based information exchange, research, and advice regarding all modes of transportation.

TRB is a program division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). The National Academies provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation; conduct activities to solve complex problems; and inform policy decisions on matters related to science, engineering, and medicine.

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