Oregon Department of Transportation

 

SITUATION

Due to the lack of population in the extreme southwest corner of Oregon, bus service carriers could not afford to create routes between the communities of Brookings and Grants Pass.

The Oregon Department of Transportation received a federal grant to subsidize a private carrier who would create a bus route that would connect the Southwest Oregon communities. The project required naming the route, naming the bus service, creating a brand identity and then publicizing the service.

The budget for the entire project was $40,000.

STRATEGY

Using research to verify the validity, Southwest POINT was adopted as the name of the service. POINT is an acronym for Public Oregon INtercity Transit. A logo and graphics package was developed and approved by ODOT that was subsequently adapted to all collateral material, the web site and 30-passenger buses. A key strategy in the name and graphics was that it was able to be adopted in other regions of the state for future expansion.

We recruited individuals in each community being served by the new bus service to act as local liaison in the community to help spread the word. We also created an agreement with high traffic retailers to distribute printed pieces with the new transit schedule on them.

Substantial media coverage was achieved in all the markets by conducting “Grand Opening” press events along the route in Klamath Falls, Medford, Cave Junction and Brookings. Human interest was created by sending selected people to visit relatives and fulfill other personal interests, then submitting their story to local newspapers. We received front page stories in every one of the markets and multiple prominent stories on television.

RESULTS

Ridership on the new service exceeded the transit company and ODOT’s forecast significantly. Research in the community colleges in Southern Oregon showed strong awareness of the service. The youngest group showed more than 60% awareness and they were the least targeted.