Tuesday, October 14, 2014

If We Put A Crazy Cover On A Report Would You Read It?

Click the picture to see it full size.
As the person charged with engaging the public for SRTC, I constantly struggle with ways to bring attention to our activities, using very little money. Our Metropolitan Transportation Plans (MTP) and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), among others, are very important documents because they determine how YOUR tax dollars are spent.

But how many people actually read them? My guess is very few. Why? Admittedly, the content can be a little dry. I always suggest that people skim the "meat" of the report as I call it, the tables that show what projects will be funded or what areas funding will go to, but it's still a tough sell sometimes.

Apparently many government agencies have the same issue. Caltrans and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is fighting it though with their recent 1,316-page report on the High Desert Corridor, a proposed 63-mile freeway and rail link between the Antelope Valley and a fast-growing area of northwest San Bernardino County in California.

What's different about this report? The cover. It's kinda trippy. Have you seen the episode of the Simpsons where Homer eats the really hot pepper and wanders out in the desert where he hallucinates all night? This cover kind of reminds me of that. It's got raptors on bicycles, a tortoise with the name "Brad" on its shell and squirrels.

So if we were going to do something like that with one of our document covers, what would suit spokane? A flying garbage goat? A bus full of marmots? A pink clocktower?

While you think about it, here's more on the report, some pretty funny reaction to the cover, and where the name Brad came from for the turtle.

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.