Twenty states recently took home at least one award from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials that recognized outstanding work in a range of communications skills, tactics and campaigns.
[Above photo by AASHTO]
AASHTO’s Committee on Transportation Communications – known as TransComm – sponsors this annual skills awards competition in order to facilitate the sharing of best practices and to recognize outstanding communications efforts.
TransComm started this competition to showcase the best products produced by state DOT communication offices on a regular basis. For the 2023 competition, 184 nominations were submitted in 38 categories, covering everything from blog posts and script writing to social media strategy, safety campaigns, and videography.
The big winners were the California Department of Transportation – known as Caltrans – and the Washington State Department of Transportation; winning awards for end-to-end public engagement initiatives.
Caltrans took home an “Excel” award for its support of the “Go Safely Movement” campaign launched by the California Office of Traffic Safety.
That campaign aimed to establish a stronger safety culture in California by raising awareness of the roadway safety crisis and encouraging people to take a “Community Call to Action” survey; the results of which are being used to help improve state highway safety planning efforts as well as identify “traffic safety champions” to promote more community-level involvement in traffic safety initiatives.
Meanwhile, WSDOT received recognition for its efforts to highlight the new HOV lanes opened on northbound and southbound I-5 between Fife and Tacoma in early 2023. That effort – the results of a six-year construction project – connected HOV lanes from State Route 16 in Gig Harbor to I-5 into King County.
Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation and TransComm’s chair for the last three years, received a special recognition award for her tenure.
In September, Governor Phil Murphy (D) appointed Gutierrez-Scaccetti as his next chief of staff. She started in her new role on October 2 but continues serving as New Jersey DOT commissioner until January 2024.