Best Practices for Transportation Agency Use of Social Media (Hardback) book cover

Best Practices for Transportation Agency Use of Social Media

Edited by Susan Bregman, Kari Edison Watkins

© 2013 – CRC Press

331 pages | 57 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781466568600
pub: 2013-10-02
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pub: 2013-10-02
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Timely updates, increased citizen engagement, and more effective marketing are just a few of the reasons transportation agencies have already started to adopt social media networking tools. Best Practices for Transportation Agency Use of Social Media offers real-world advice for planning and implementing social media from leading government practitioners, academic researchers, and industry experts.

The book provides an overview of the various social media platforms and tools, with examples of how transportation organizations use each platform. It contains a series of interviews that illustrate what creative agencies are doing to improve service, provide real-time updates, garner valuable information from their customers, and better serve their communities. It reveals powerful lessons learned from various transportation agencies, including a regional airport, city and state departments of transportation, and municipal transit agencies.

Filled with examples from transportation organizations, the text provides ideas that can apply to all modes of transportation including mass transit, highways, aviation, ferries, bicycling, and walking. It describes how to measure the impact of your social media presence and also examines advanced uses of social media for obtaining information by involving customers and analyzing their social media use.

The book outlines all the resources you will need to maintain a social media presence and describes how to use social media analytical tools to assess service strengths and weaknesses and customer sentiment. Explaining how to overcome the digital divide, language barriers, and accessibility challenges for patrons with disabilities, it provides you with the understanding of the various social media technologies along with the knowhow to determine which one is best for a specific situation and purpose.

Table of Contents


It’s a Social World; Susan Bregman

What Is Social Media?

Who Uses Social Media?

How Does Government Use Social Media?

How Transportation Organizations Use Social Media

Defining the Social Web

Other Social Media Platforms



Fish Heads and Haiku: Voices from the Field; Susan Bregman

One Tweet Away: On Site with the Washington State Department of Transportation

Keeping It Conversational: On Site with L.A. Metro

More Is More: On Site with the Akron-Canton Airport

Capital Conversations: On Site with the District Department of Transportation

From Zero to Ninety: On Site with the Central Ohio Transit Authority

Not Government as Usual: On Site with the Arizona Department of Transportation


Using Social Media to Connect with Customers and Community

Communicating at the Speed of Light: Using Social Media as a Marketing Tool; Matt Raymond and Robin O’Hara

A Cantankerous Noise: Social Media as an Advocacy Tool; Andrew Austin and Ashley Robbins

From the Silicon Hills to the Sea: Using Social Media for Feedback and Community Engagement; Jody Feerst Litvak and Jennifer Evans-Cowley

From Hurricanes to Carmageddon: Social Media for Real-Time Communications; Ned Racine and Susan Bregman


Learning from Customers and Community

Bringing Customers Back into Transportation: Citizen-Driven Transit Service Innovation via Social Computing; Aaron Steinfeld, John Zimmerman, and Anthony Tomasic

May We Have a Few Minutes of Your Time? Using Social Media in Transportation Surveys; Stacey Bricka, Debbie Spillane, Tina Geiselbrecht, and Thomas Wall

Checking the Urban Pulse: Social Media Data Analytics for Transportation Applications; Satish V. Ukkusuri, Samiul Hasan, and Xianyuan Zhan


Agency Considerations and Policies

What’s the Worst That Can Happen? Social Media Protocols and Policies; Susan Bregman and Sarah Kaufman

Rules of Engagement: Using Social Media to Turn Critics into Fans; Susan Bregman

Bridging the Digital Divide: Ensuring Information Equity in Social Media; Kari Edison Watkins, Katharine Hunter-Zaworski, and Sarah Windmiller

Is Anybody Listening? Measuring Impacts of Social Media; Eric Rabe and Susit Dhakal


Tying It All Together; Kari Edison Watkins

Uses of Social Media

Benefits of Social Media

Entering the Social Space

The Future



About the Editors

Susan Bregman has more than 25 years of experience as a transportation researcher and policy analyst. She is the principal and founder of Oak Square Resources, LLC, a Boston-based consulting firm that provides research, policy, and communication services to the public transportation industry. She has particular expertise in the field of social media and was the principal investigator for TCRP Synthesis 99, Uses of Social Media in Public Transportation, published by the Transportation Research Board in 2012.

Since 2008, Susan has been editor of The Transit Wire, a daily blog about transit technology that covers everything from mobile applications and social media to contactless fare collection. Before joining the consulting world, she worked for the city of Boston and the U.S. Department of Transportation. She started her professional life as a writer and editor for a trade association and a community newspaper.

Susan earned a master of city and regional planning degree from the Harvard Kennedy School and an undergraduate degree from Brown University with a specialization in linguistics. She is also an award-winning photographer and her work may be found at Follow her on Twitter @OakSquareSusan.

Kari Edison Watkins, PE, PhD, is an assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering at Georgia Tech. After trying out the Northeast as a consultant for a decade and the Pacific Northwest to earn a PhD at the University of Washington (UW), she decided it was time to return to her undergraduate alma mater and the City of Atlanta to help it become a more transit-friendly, bikeable place.

In her research and teaching, Kari uses technology to improve, understand, and influence travel mode choice and multi-modal transportation planning. At UW, she co-created the OneBusAway program to provide real-time transit information tools and assess their impacts on riders in greater Seattle–Tacoma. She continues to work on ways to improve traveler information, but has also begun to examine opportunities to crowdsource cycling infrastructure and amenity data through the Cycle Atlanta program. Check out her research lab, UTIL, at or follow her on Twitter @transitmom.

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