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A Policy & Communications Investigation of Transportation Financing and Environmental Issues

Principal Investigators: Richard Watts and Tao Sun
Funding Agency: US DOT

Project Summary

There are a number of key environmental, political and financial issues facing transportation leaders attempting to promote policies and programs that advance sustainable transportation objectives in the 21st Century. This project seeks to understand how leaders of those organizations use their communication strategies to promote sustainable transportation, preferred policy outcomes and position within the organizational network. We build on previous research that investigated the network positions of 121 organizations engaged with sustainable transportation programs and policies in the states of Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. In that project we mapped the network structure of those organizations and their interorganizational communication patterns. In this project we interview the leaders in those organizations to understand their communication strategies, leadership approaches and perceived influence over different steps in the policy process focusing on how they communicate between organizations and the general audience media. We then compare this qualitative data with the network analysis-data previously collected and an analysis of the appearance of these organization in the media discourse. This work contributes to the understanding of transportation leadership, the role of communications in organizational network position and appearance in the media discourse. This research will also add to the understanding of how leaders of sustainable transportation use communications as a tool to promote their preferred policy outcomes.