Washington, DC – The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced this week, the 11 winners of the annual AdWheel Grand Awards at its annual meeting in Atlanta, GA. The awards recognize APTA member public transportation systems and business members for their outstanding marketing and communications campaigns.
"I am pleased to recognize the 2017 AdWheel Award winners, who have advanced public transportation with their exceptional marketing and communications efforts," said APTA Acting President & CEO Richard A. White. "These eleven Grand Award winners showed the strategic value of communications and marketing within the public transportation industry by boosting ridership and increasing support, as well as accomplishing key organizational goals."
Nearly 350 entries were evaluated by more than 100 industry experts and awards were presented in three categories: efforts to increase ridership or sales, efforts to highlight transit needs and funding, and educational efforts. Honors were awarded in four groups, based on system size. The Grand Award winners are listed below.
Efforts to Increase Ridership or Sales
LAKETRAN (Painesville, OH)
Entry Title: Adventures in Commuting Park-n-Ride Campaign. This radio, display, and print campaign focused leads to Laketran's new website that offered riders a free ride. The marketing efforts plateaued 18 months of declining ridership and in recent months has shown a ridership increase. The campaign also informed riders of new Bus on Shoulder program that has reduced complaints being received from car drivers when they see a bus pass them on the shoulder. Laketran even used these complaints as an opportunity to offer a free ride to try the service.
TransLink (Vancouver, BC)
Entry Title: Evergreen Means GO Campaign. The flexibility of the creative platform allowed TransLink to create a number of executions to depict the many benefits that rapid transit brings. With a headline driven campaign they were able to communicate with the specific communities that TransLink is expanding into and the entire metro Vancouver region that the Evergreen Extension is a celebration of moving forward.
Regional Transportation District (Denver, CO)
Entry Title: Train to the Plane Campaign. This campaign to increase service awareness, educate the public about commuter rail, promote grand opening events, and generate excitement to encourage ridership. "Train to the Plane" resulted in over 255 million multimedia impressions over a three-month period and drew 100,000 people to their opening events. News coverage was provided internationally and the phrase "Train to the Plane" ruled the market. In addition, RTD has seen a 30% increase over ridership projections since opening.
ALSTOM Transportation Inc. (New York, NY)
Entry Title: BRINGING HIGH SPEED TO THE U.S. Video. The objective was to create awareness for the new Avelia Liberty trains that will run on Amtrak's NEC, and to stimulate renewed interest in rail transportation as part of the solution to alleviate U.S. transportation congestion, promote economic growth, and job creation. This video was used in combination with other communications material: press release, case study, product brochures, web sites, and social media. Since its launch, the video simulation of future service has been viewed more than 4,600,000 times on YouTube.
Efforts to Highlight Transit Needs/Funding
Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (Flagstaff, AZ)
Entry Title: NAIPTA Proposition 411: Mountain Line Sales Tax Continuation Campaign. The primary objective was to keep Mountain Line top of mind and inform voters that the tax renewal was on the ballot. Although public support for the renewal was high, NAIPTA did not want Prop 411 to fall victim to voter fatigue on a crowded ballot. The primary strategy was to focus all messaging on the fact that Prop 411 was a continuation of an existing tax, not a tax increase. A secondary strategy was to remind voters that NAIPTA has delivered on the promises it made during the last transit tax election in 2008. Once the votes were tallied, Proposition 411 passed with a 71 percent approval rating.
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (Tampa, FL)
Entry Title: Beyond the Bus Video. The short, concise, dynamic video was designed to help state and federal decision makers understand HART is forward thinking and progressive. The video was filmed with drones and highlights all the innovations HART has accomplished with low per capita spending. The dynamic video has been used on many different levels for speaking engagements around Florida and the U.S.
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Los Angeles, CA)
Entry Title: Measure M Campaign. LA Metro's campaign supported a ballot measure for transportation, and the campaign was launched nearly three years ago via outreach to community leaders throughout sprawling Los Angeles County. As such, it employed a unique bottom-up approach in which the voters were consulted first and asked to identify the projects that would best help their neighborhoods. Measure M was supported by more than 71 percent of voters. The sales tax will dedicate an estimated $120 billion to transportation over the next 40 years and fund 40 new major projects.
Blacksburg Transit (Blacksburg, VA)
Entry Title: Drive for BT. Blacksburg Transit wasn't able to meet the service needs of customers due to a shortage of Bus Operators. BT was forced to reduce service and use Operations Supervisors on a daily basis to fill in service gaps. The "Drive for BT" advertising campaign was designed to reduce print advertising costs, gain quantifiable data and bring in 200 operator applications over a 12-month period. As a result of this campaign, applications tripled in the first few months, the training department was filling Operator training classes to capacity, ridership increased by 7 percent over that same period and staffing increased by 22 percent.
Metrolink (Los Angeles, CA)
Entry Title: Shifting Purchase Behavior: Metrolink Mobile Ticketing. Metrolink had a challenge due to their legacy fare collection system. The railroad needed to reduce the wear and tear at existing Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) and shift customer behavior to an account based platform. The TVMs have a high cost for maintenance, high ticket stock cost, cause queuing during peak hours, and have poor reliability. Metrolink achieved a strong response to an educational campaign which moved passengers from purchasing tickets through the TVMs to a new Metrolink App. Within the first six months, Metrolink had 18% of all passengers purchasing tickets through the app which is 225% over the projected goal.
GO Transit (Metrolinx) (Toronto, ON)
Entry Title: GO Transit Customer Courtesy Campaign. GoTransit found 96% of riders had been impacted by bad etiquette issues. GO crowd-sourced the top five "etiquette fails" and took a page from very straight-laced airplane safety guides, with a tongue and cheek twist in videos, social media, and posters. ROI for this campaign was at 5700 to 1, with a $35,000 spend garnering over $2 million in earned media. Only 2 months after launch, when surveyed if riders "noticed changes to [x bad] behavior" drops were seen in every area, a 36% overall drop - exceeding the goal of 25%. Complaints to GO's customer service center dropped by 80%, exceeding the goal of 30%.
Siemens Industry, Inc. - Mobility Division (Sacramento, CA)
Entry Title: Siemens Ingenuity for Life. The campaign was designed to show how Siemens technology impacts not only business, but society at large. The campaign includes print, online, video and social media. The challenge in creating a new campaign was content; finding a customer who could help tell the Siemens story in the campaign topic areas. Siemens was able to feature TriMet, in Portland, Oregon as a customer story. The initial results reported: 55% awareness among targets; High "Likeability" (increase from pre-wave 70% to early impact 88%); 23% Slogan recall and "assigned to Siemens" by the audiences; 83% "Fit" or relevance to Siemens.
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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products.