Develop a focused outreach plan that identifies all stakeholders, the message appropriate for each stakeholder and the method in which you will reach the stakeholders when embarking on a connected vehicle project.

Experience with outreach and showcasing activities during the Safety Pilot Model Deployment in Ann Arbor, Michigan

September 2015
Michigan; Ann Arbor; Michigan; United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

The Test Conductor of the connected vehicle safety pilot model deployment (SPMD) was tasked with developing and implementing an Outreach Plan, intended to disseminate results of the program and acquire stakeholder feedback. The plan outlined an approach for engaging stakeholders and reaching the general public through the development of various promotional materials and participation in numerous conferences and events.

A key outreach activity was the highly successful launch event, signifying the start of the Safety Pilot Model Deployment on August 21, 2012. This high-profile, premiere event was hosted in Ann Arbor, MI and included leaders from various industry segments, there to witness the unveiling of the technology and the program. Guests included the USDOT Secretary of Transportation, the Governor of Michigan, and many other industry representatives. The successful launch drew national recognition for Safety Pilot and included real-time coverage by major media outlets such as the Today Show and CNBC. The launch was a stellar success for numerous reasons including careful preparation and invitation of key political figures; development of a compelling story; close collaboration between the USDOT, Test Conductor team, and OEMs; and most importantly allowing the media to participate in an interactive demonstration of V2V technologies. The outreach and showcase efforts were an important part of the project and were considered a great success. As a result, the Safety Pilot project was recognized both nationally and internationally.
  • Review the outreach and engagement plan with the project team and obtain buy-in on the levels of outreach needed for each stakeholder. Periodically review the plan to ensure that the types and levels of outreach selected for each stakeholder are appropriate.
  • Develop a full complement of materials in advance of the pilot launch, such as talking points, project presentations, FAQs, press kits, and fact sheets. This will help to establish and maintain one consistent message.
  • Define a process for handling, tracking, and documenting media requests. Ensure that it is agreed upon by all team members. Designate points of contact to serve as media liaisons.
  • Consider hiring a public relations agency to work directly with the project team to be actively engaged in outreach activities, such as monitoring media coverage, developing responses to media inquiries, anticipating media needs, and developing creative content with sensitive information.
  • Provide guidance to project partners regarding their interactions with the media, particularly if communications regarding the program are sensitive.
  • Include a well-organized, high-profile launch event, and dedicate sufficient resources to this effort. Be prepared to maintain momentum throughout the project by establishing a plan to use a variety of tools to support the interests and needs of various stakeholders and audiences. After the prominent launch event, be sure to follow-up with other high visibility elements, to increase recognition of ongoing activities.
  • Implement performance measures to gage the impacts of particular outreach strategies. In cases where resources are constrained, evaluation tools could determine what types of media are most effective for reaching the target audience.

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Safety Pilot Model Deployment: Lessons Learned and Recommendations for Future Connected Vehicle Activities

Author: Kevin Gay, Valarie Kniss (Volpe)

Published By: U.S. Department of Transportation

Source Date: September 2015

EDL Number: FHWA-JPO-16-363

URL: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/4361

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Lesson Contact(s):

Kevin Gay

Lesson Analyst:

Gregory Hatcher


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Lesson ID: 2016-00753