In the latest episode of the “Talking Michigan Transportation” podcast, hosted by the Michigan Department of Transportation, Shane Peck (above) – communications and public involvement director and vice president at engineering firm WSP – discussed a major study funded by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program that examined the most effective way to explain the benefits of transportation; especially in terms of “quality of life” improvements.
[Above photo by WSP]
Peck noted that, prior to working at WSP, he spent 17 years working for Missouri’s state government and 12 years as communications director with the Missouri Department of Transportation.
“As a communication director for a [state] DOT and through many years of experience, [you find] folks are focused on a lot of different things – and transportation is pretty far down the list, even though it’s vitally important to people,” he said.
“But every day, you’re thinking about your job, you’re thinking about getting your kid to school, you’re thinking about buying groceries, or going to healthcare, all those kind of things,” Peck noted.
“But if you’re getting where you need to go, you’re not really thinking about transportation,” he pointed out. “Unfortunately, when people aren’t thinking about it, maybe they don’t see the need for why we need to invest more in transportation going forward, but also they don’t necessarily think about how there’s broader benefits to transportation beyond just being able to get where you need to go. So that’s also part of what we looked at in this research.”
Peck said this study looked at a wide variety of factors – from equity and efficient mobility to job creation – as part of its research study into how to more effectively communicate the benefits of transportation.
“Ultimately it’s all about how transportation is for everyone. That’s one of the key messages for equity, and so if we can invest more in transportation, that will benefit everyone,” he explained.
To listen to the full podcast, click here.