I-95 Bridge Restorations
Interstate 95 is one of the busiest highways in the United States. And like any highway, I-95 has many bridges which allow it to pass over other roads. In one seven-mile stretch of I-95 in Richmond, Virginia, there are eleven bridges that were built over 50 years ago. The bridges have already carried far more traffic than they were ever intended to carry. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) had to replace those bridges.
But with tens of thousands of vehicles driving on those overpass bridges every day, any construction by VDOT would cause major traffic problems on I-95. We had to let people know that this significant project was coming.
Our goal was not to sell a product or a service. Instead, we needed to change behavior. We had to get people to make a conscious decision to alter part of their usual daily routine.
Creatively, we kept our message simple and concise. We told people what to expect, when to expect it, and how they could avoid it. By getting straight to the point, we knew we would do more than simply inform drivers. We would empower them so they could manage their day.
To maximize the budget, we focused primarily on making sure local residents were aware of the bridge work so they could avoid the area. This reduction in local traffic created bandwidth for through travelers, who are more difficult and much more expensive to reach. We used quick-turn media such as radio tags, TV billboards, internet banners, and various social media tools to reach local residents. We let them know about the project, the specific dates, and alternate routes. During the highly congested summer months, we added an additional layer of media to reach through travelers as well as local residents.
The campaign was a tremendous success. Awareness of the project soared from 13% to 88%. More than 70% of people were aware of an alternate route. And perhaps most impressively, 85% of residents made a deliberate change in their behavior to avoid the construction area.