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American Public Transportation Association

 AdWheel Awards


The AdWheel Awards recognize the marketing and communications efforts of APTA’s members. Additionally, the annual awards competition creates a structure to share best practices and to raise the awareness of the value of public transportation marketing professionals within the industry.

The 2017 call for entries opened on October 10, 2016 and close on November 14, 2016.


What are the categories and subcategories?

In an effort to align the AdWheel Awards with organizational and industry strategic goals, awards will be presented in the following three (3) categories. All three categories have seven (7) subcategories for entries to be submitted under.

  1. ​Best Marketing and Communications to Increase Ridership or Sales
    • ​Print Media (e.g. brochure, newspaper ad, billboard)
    • Electronic Media (e.g. online video, radio ad, web content)
    • Special Event (e.g. community fair, press conference)
    • Social Media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat efforts)
    • Partnership (e.g. involving another group in your effort)
    • Shoestring Tactic (e.g. any subcategory done on a very limited budget. Include the budget number in your effectiveness statement)
    • Comprehensive Campaign (A campaign is an effort with multiple components that are used together to achieve your goal​)

  2. Best Marketing and Communications to Highlight Transit Needs/Funding
    • Same subcategories as above.

  3. Best Marketing and Communications Educational Effort (to improve safety or security, workforce development, general public information, courtesy, or other transit objective)
    • ​Same Subcategories as above.​​​
How and when are winners honored?

Honors are presented at the 2017 Marketing & Communications Workshop (Feb. 26-March 1 in Tampa, FL) for 84 subcategory winners (First Place Awards). The best subcategory winners are judged against each other to determine category winners (12 Grand Awards). Those Grand Award winners will be notified in late Spring 2017, ahead of being honored at the 2017 APTA EXPO and Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA, from October 8-11.​

How have the 2017 AdWheel Awards Evolved?​

See 11 presentation slides​ on the 2017 program and how we arrived here.


All APTA members in good standing may submit entries. Entries may be submitted by individual members, or two or more members working on the same project. For answers to membership questions, call APTA's Membership Department at 202-496-4800.

Eligible Entries: Elements or campaigns must have been used in whole or in part between January 1, 2015 and November 14, 2016, and may not have previously won an AdWheel Award.​

NOTE: All materials entered become property of APTA and may be used in promotion of both APTA and the AdWheel Awards.

All entries must be submitted via the online entry portal by midnight (PT) on November 14, 2016.

The 2017 entry fee remains $100 per entry. The AdWheel Awards Program is a self-sustaining program. Entry fees are used to cover the costs of running the program. We encourage you to enter in as many categories as possible.
  • ​You may pay by credit card after you complete your entry.
  • You can also pay by check. Please remember to send a copy of your invoice with your payment. Many checks are sent to APTA and we need to know where the funds should be allocated.
  • Purchase Orders are not allowed as a form of payment for this awards program.
Make checks payable to: American Public Transportation Association and mail to:

AdWheel Awards-c/o Stephen Kendrick
1300 I Street NW, Suite 1200 E
Washington, D.C. 20005

Entry Tips:

APTA has created a list of tips to help you submit your AdWheel Award entry.   
  • ​Avoid the Rush Hour Traffic Jam: The submission portal receives a lot of activity the last 3 days before the deadline.  To avoid overloading the site, be sure to submit your entries in advance.
  • MyAPTA Login: You will need your MyAPTA login information in order to submit an entry.
  • Group Selection: Be sure to verify your ridership statistics before selecting a group category.
  • File Upload Limits: The maximum file size is 20 MB.  Allowed file types: jpg, gif, pdf, xls, doc, txt, ppt, ps, rtf, eps, bmp, tif, png, jpeg, psd, ai, swf, pot, dot, docx, xml, mpg, mp4, avi, wmv, mov, css, html, and js. Please do not upload zip files.
  • Sharing Links to Files Larger than 20MB: Under the “File Upload” page in the submission portal, there is also an option to submit one URL link to files that are larger than 20MB.
  • Video Files: All video files must be submitted as YouTube or Vimeo URLs or as one of the acceptable file types above.
  • Advertising Agency Submissions: If you are an advertising agency, be sure the transit agency’s name that you are representing is clearly listed on the submission. If you are unsure which category to select for the entry, ask the transit organization.
  • Category Selection: Double check the category you have selected to make sure it is the correct category for your entry.
The Written Part of the Entry is the “Effectiveness Statement”

Submit clear and concise effectiveness statements, maximum 800 characters in length per question (including spaces.) The statements can be written in narrative or bullet format. Remember, judges read this statement, and view any files you have uploaded, or links you have attached in order to determine the score of the entry.
1. Who was the target audience for this entry?
2. What was the situation/challenge that necessitated creating this entry?
3. What was the strategy/objective of this entry?
4. What results/impact did this entry have? (e.g. increased ridership, higher sales, greater public awareness, etc.)
5. Please tell the judges why this entry was submitted and why it should win an AdWheel Award.

Group Descriptions:

Group 1: Public transportation systems with 4 million or fewer annual passenger trips
Group 2: Public transportation systems with more than 4 million, but fewer than 20 million annual passenger trips
Group 3: Public transportation systems with more than 20 million annual passenger trips
Group 4: Business members (manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, consultants, associations, or transportation management organizations)

Judging Criteria:

Each entry is judged on the following measures:

  • ​Effectiveness/Success in Achieving Purpose/Goals
  • Overall Impact and Impression
  • Clarity of Message and Information
  • Attention-Getting and Holding Qualities
  • Attractiveness and Use of Design, Layout, and Type
  • Production Quality
  • The two highest scoring subcategory winners and the campaign subcategory winner will be considered for the overall category​ award.

AdWheel Entry Archive for 2016-2009:

Click here to view the past entries, including AdWheel​ Award winners.

Copyright © 2016 American Public Transportation Association
1300 I Street NW
Suite 1200 East
Washington, DC 20005
Telephone (202) 496-4800 | Fax (202) 496-4324
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