The National Academies

NCHRP 20-24(137) [Active]

Assessing and Communicating the Economic and Quality of Life Benefits of Transportation Infrastructure Investments: Message Testing
[ NCHRP 20-24 (Administration of Highway and Transportation Agencies) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $150,000
Staff Responsibility: Ann M. Hartell
Research Agency: WSP USA Inc.
Principal Investigator: Paula Hammond
Effective Date: 11/8/2021
Completion Date: 11/7/2022

In 2020, the report for NCHRP Project 23-01, “Assessing and Communicating the Economic and Quality of Life Benefits of Transportation Infrastructure Investment” was provided to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The research for that project developed evidence-based messaging that state DOTs are using to raise public awareness of the economic and quality of life benefits of transportation infrastructure investments. The study differed from past research in its explicit focus on benefits experienced in people’s daily lives, for example by gaining more control over one’s time, having a less stressful commute, or having more jobs in one’s community. An illustrated guide provided messages and strategies for integrating them into both routine DOT communications and specialized campaigns. NCHRP 20-24(137) will refine and market-test the messages in a more realistic, practical context than was possible during NCHRP Project 23-01. 
Research Objective
This objective of this research is to build upon the results of NCHRP Project 23-01 to evaluate and refine messages and materials that communicate economic and quality-of-life benefits of transportation infrastructure investments. The research will evaluate customer responses to fully developed communications pieces that incorporate graphics and more specific pitches. These sample communications could include both urban-based multimodal messages and rural messages focused on mobility and accessibility. The research will also address the implications from COVID-19 impacts so that messages will meet current and emerging needs for effective communications strategies. The audience for the research results and products are communications practitioners at state DOTs, as well as agency leadership.

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