PUBLIC RELATIONS

Managing the Logistics of Transportation Projects

By OCGPR Staff | November 15, 2016

The logistics of large-scale transportation projects are formidable. From design, to engineering to construction, the sheer number of variables that have to be accounted for are enormous. Very often, meeting these challenges becomes a day-to-day obstacle course. Keeping a project on track is an ongoing effort until the very end.

Through the work on the $1.4 billion 35Express project, the OCG PR team has deftly handled the myriad and unique communications challenges undertakings such as this require. The team has achieved this by regularly providing updates on traffic changes via email and social media, conducting regular boots-on-the-ground outreach for stakeholders affected by the project and ensuring communication between the project and local agencies proceeded smoothly during major changes.

Keeping up with the complicated nature of such a complex project has required the public engagement team to continuously stay abreast of construction and traffic changes. At the same time, there must be constant public engagement to ensure the stakeholders are also informed of the most current developments.  All of this is part of meeting the ever-changing needs of the client.

As with any major undertaking, staying informed, being prepared and building relationships are the keys to success.

Staying Informed

  • Build strong relationships with the project engineers and experts.
  • Conduct your own research to clearly understand the work being done. Relying on the client team is important, but learning the details in the plans and documents always produces better results.
  • Take time to meet with stakeholders and learn their specific concerns. The OCG PR team has utilized community meetings and social media to foster discussion.
  • Identify critical geographic areas and the specific issues that will affect them. This allows the team to stay ahead of work that requires significant disruption to traffic pattern, such as full highway closures.
  • Identify key project milestones and the timeframe in which they will be met. Construction schedules are notorious for fluctuating, but keeping key dates in view is essential.

Being prepared

  • Create a robust communications and outreach plan. Identify the key aspects of the project and focus on the way it must be relayed to the public.
  • Revise the communications plan often. Adapting to the constantly-changing nature of construction and responding to unexpected changes is critical.
  • Prepare in advance for emergency communications tasks. When major accidents impact traffic, a key tool is having the procedures in place to respond and notify the public.

Building Relationships

  • Stay aware of the needs of the client and how they change as the project progresses. Major projects evolve as conditions warrant.
  • Regularly reach out to key stakeholders to ensure they are up to speed with the work affecting them. By being proactive and thorough in providing information, stakeholders are more likely to accept routine inconveniences that are an inevitable part of major projects.
  • Respond as quickly as possible to stakeholder requests and make every effort to answer all questions and concerns. Knowing there is someone there to handle concerns provides goodwill and makes finding solutions faster and easier.

By following these steps, you can build an effective public engagement program for transportation projects of any size.

C.J. Schexnayder

Senior Account Executive, OCG PR, www.ocgpr.com

OCG PR offers expertise in diverse multicultural segments, including African American, Hispanic and Asian communities as well as women, youth and LGBT populations.

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