Survey reveals how Treasure Valley motorists get information

Reaching the public with road construction information – how traffic might be impacted and how businesses and patrons will be affected by what we’re doing – has been a vital part of ITD’s project plans for decades. Recently we conducted a survey to see how drivers generally receive – or would like to get – their construction information. Respondents were overwhelmingly positive about the construction bulletins they received by e-mail from ITD.

ITD sent an electronic survey in December. The database of 863 people was created over several years of public outreach during GARVEE-funded construction. Of the 863, 186 responded by the end of the month – a good response rate.

Survey respondents included:

  • Law enforcement (Idaho State Police, city police),
  • Emergency service providers (fire dept., police),
  • Municipalities (cities of Boise, Nampa and Meridian),
  • Local agencies and nonprofit organizations
  • Business owners and managers, and
  • Residents, commuters and employees

Although ITD recently added social media to the cadre of public outreach tools, most survey responders (55 percent) still indicated that they received information through a traditional source – television. The percentage of respondents who received their information via newspaper (28 percent) and radio (29 percent) were nearly identical. The state’s 511 traveler information system was fourth on the list with 20 percent. Responders were asked to list the top two sources, besides the construction bulletin emails, they turned to for traffic impacts.

Ninety-three percent of respondents said the e-mails were very or somewhat helpful. Travel plans changed based on the emails for 75 percent of responders. Eighty percent wanted the surveys sent 1-4 days in advance of delays, closures or construction impacts. Many indicated that the messages benefit logistics, employees and customers.

Befitting a shrinking attention span and preference for “bullet-point” facts, most responders told us to “keep the e-mails short,” and provide links to the broader news releases and project pages within the message. Essentially they wanted the headline, and would access the rest of the story if they desired. They also wanted a “project status” sentence at the bottom of every email – again just a quick overview or status update. Only 25 percent of responders said the length did not matter.

Examples of comments received

Boise Airport
“As the airport PIO, I was able to take your information and disseminate it to other agencies and tenants at the airport. Very helpful for both employees and for customers.”

Taco Bell Arena
“I pass the info on to my entire office and I use the info to make sure that shows … are aware so they can make plans.”

Blue Cross of Idaho
“I run the operations for our company that employs about 850 employees. It is great to be able to forward information to them with an opportunity to choose other routes…”

City of Nampa
Fire Department: “I report the information onto the emergency responders and this allows us to be prepared and change our responses when deemed necessary.”

Public Works Department: “As street superintendent, I field numerous calls on road conditions including questions on the interstate and off-ramps.”

Idaho State Police
“As the ISP Region 3 Commander, I pass many of the notices on to our entire ISPPatrol Region, including Dispatch…. We appreciate this product from ITD.”

City of Meridian
Fire Department: “As emergency responder(s) it helps (us) plan routes and also lets us know when to see higher levels of traffic on surface streets.”

School District: “(It’s) very helpful for our school bus drivers to know in advance if possible where roads may be closed or delayed.”

Boise State University
“We post these on our website for use by faculty/staff and students.”

Utility Trailer
“My business has a 24-hour emergency call-out service for broken-down truckers.When there are road conditions that will have impact on my on-call employees, I like to pass on the info you send me. Keep ’em coming… and thank you.”

Gowen Field
“Your prior information on the Vista (Interchange) made it much less stressful the first time I used it. Thank you.”

Local resident
“You have done a GREAT JOB in information about the Ten Mile Overpass. We are waiting for the opening….”

Published 2-4-2011