Communication Matters: Communicating the Value of Transportation Research

This comprehensive document provides transportation researchers, planners, managers, and others with professional advice on how to design, plan and execute effecting communication campaigns that convey the value of research projects or programs. It covers the elements of good communication practices, the communication process, evaluation and feedback, and targeting specific audiences. This is a practical document, offering quick tips, detailed how-to descriptions, and useful resources and templates. The guidebook is organized into the following four chapters and two appendices: (1) Signs of Good Communication Practices; (2) The Communication Process; (3) Planning and Evaluating Your Research Communication; (4) Putting It All Together: Communicating to Specific Audiences; (Appendix 1) Transportation Case Studies; and (Appendix 2) Non-Transportation Best Practices.

Summary:

Extensive research and examination of best practices in communication, within and outside of the transportation community, informed NCHRP Report 610, Communicating the Value of Transportation Research – Guidebook. The research assembled practical tips, a model process, case studies, and examples of good communication methods that all transportation researchers can use. The guide is organized into four chapters and two appendixes to explain the process:

Chapter 1: Signed of Good Communication Practices presents seven indicators drawn of best practices inside and outside of the transportation community.

Chapter 2: The Communication Process explores the key steps for planning, talking about, writing, and creating the context, strategy, and content, and choosing the appropriate channels – media and contacts – and style.

Chapter 3: Planning and Evaluating Your Research Communication presents ways to understand how target audiences will hear the message.

Chapter 4: Putting It All Together: Communicating to Specific Audiences provides examples of how to communicate with audiences that matter: research peers, transportation policy and program officials, legislative leaders and staff, the news media, and the public.

Appendix 1: Transportation Case Studies illustrates good communication practices through experiences from seven transportation research projects.

Appendix 2: Nontransportation Best Practices summarizes the approaches of four organizations that have excelled in communicating the value of research.