Telling Our Story

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Telling Our Story” Action Plan

(Updated December 8, 2009)

OVERALL GOAL: By educating Americans about the benefits of public transportation and generating enthusiasm about its value to individuals and communities, APTA and its members will spur action for increased support and funding for public transportation at the local and national levels.

TARGET AUDIENCES: Elected Officials


General Public

State Associations

STRATEGIES: Build stronger emotional connection with public transit through personal stories and testimonials

Use social media tools to educate and activate stakeholders and younger adults

Create more opportunities and generate ideas and easy-to-use tools to mobilize and energize members

Develop stronger relationships with partners and coalitions

MESSAGE: Public Transportation Takes Us There: Economy, Energy, Environment and Quality of Life


We will develop short-term and long-term activities, and continue to focus on the legislative priorities of authorization and the climate change legislation.

Short-term (November-December 2009)

Social media tools: Activate Twitter accounts and re-introduce Public Transportation Takes Us There Facebook page. Set up a page on, asking the general public to tell us how public transit benefits them. (November 13)

Online videos: Announce the public winners of Dump the Pump online video contest through regular and social media and place on web site. (Completed November 22)

Exhibits: Exhibit and Tell Our Story at AARP Annual Expo (October 21-23), and National League of Cities meetings (November 10-14). We will also videotape seniors at AARP expo on why increased public transit is important to them. (Completed)

The Business Case for Transit: Work with business members to release new report. (November 20)

Transit Savings Report: Continue to issue monthly reports on how much money people save by riding public transit. Include stories and testimonials of people who have saved money. (December 9)

Local Referenda: Undertake national media on voters’ desire for more public transit by showcasing results of local initiatives on the ballot on November 3. (Completed November 4)

Partnerships: Participate in Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, organized by American Occupational Therapy Association. Friday, December 11 is Life After Driving Day. (December 11)

Jobs and Public Transit: Developed “scrapbook” showing how the ARRA funds created jobs throughout the country; Released new survey showing $15 billion in additional ready-to-go projects and participated in two events with House of Reps and Senate; Produced advertisements with US Chamber, Transportation Construction Coalition and undertook local radio tour . (December)

Longer-term (January 2010- )

As we work on the short-term activities, the task force will develop long-term initiatives. We will develop Telling Our Story activities around the following:

Tell Our Story National Days: Organize a series of national days of action, starting with “Tell Our Story to Congress Day” on January 6-8. This is a “reverse fly-in” because it will be held in the local districts while Congress is on recess. This will be geared to authorization efforts and will depend on what action Congress takes in the next month to extend SAFETEA-LU. (January 6-8)

Earth Day 40th Anniversary (April 2010)

Dump the Pump (June 2010)

APTA’s 2nd Youth Summit (June 2010)

Research the feasibility of development of a documentary; Organize documentary contest for film students with high profile environmentalists as judges (Ed Begley Jr., Leonardo DiCaprio, David Suzuki) (June 2010)

National Days of Action, focusing on students, senior citizens (ongoing)

Green Communities Touring Exhibit (Need date from National Building Museum)

Research the opportunity to develop badges for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts (June 2010)


To build enthusiasm and encourage members to tell their story, we will organize events and develop resources and tools that will be low-cost, far-reaching and easy to implement.


  • Set up web page on with Telling Our Story ideas and tools, as well as best practices of members. We will encourage both transit system and business members to write up short summaries and videotape stories and testimonials that showcase the broad range of stories—from people getting jobs, to saving money, to being able to get to the doctor, to going green. ( ongoing)

  • Hold webinars for members about the Telling Our Story initiative, including social media tools, ads available to localize and what members are doing. (November 17 and ongoing)

  • Include stories in Passenger Transport about what members are doing around the country to tell their story. (ongoing)

  • Hold sessions on Telling Our Story at meetings and workshops throughout the year, including Transit CEOs, Marketing and Communications, Legislative, Bus and Paratransit, Rail and Transit Board Members seminars.

  • Focus the special niche award for AdWheel on Telling Our Story. This would include awards that allow agencies and businesses to record successful proactive stories that made a difference in support for authorization. (Announce in December/award in October)

  • Organize a Telling Our Story subcommittee of the Marketing and Communications Committee. (November)
  • Organize a “speakers bureau” and mini-workshops to reach out to members at State Association meetings. (December and ongoing)

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