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Synthesis of State DOT Research Program Marketing Practices and Communication Strategies for Successful and High Value Research across Intra-Agency and General Public Perspectives


The strategic communication plan described in the NCHRP project “Communicating the Value of Transportation Research” considers both the perception of value of the research and identifies goals tied to implementation objectives. Research indicates that marketing tactics need explicit connection to implementation goals to deliver efficient and effective results. Currently, state DOTs do not use a uniform methodology for marketing successful research projects or encouraging project implementation plans and programs.

As a result, some DOTs rely on traditional methods, such as scholarly journal publications, research papers found under TRB and research conference presentations, while other DOTs employ more creative tools such as the development of marketing materials/research briefs, project summary videos, and social media posts. There is a research need to gather examples of how state DOTs are applying research program strategic communication plans to market and implement successful research projects. For example, there may be software to market research projects that has been developed in the industry and applied in state DOT research programs. This information would help DOTs better understand how to successfully communicate and implement research projects.


The objective of this synthesis is to catalog examples of strategic communication plans and marketing activities currently used by DOTs. This catalog will highlight how State DOTs can successfully transition successful research projects into an implementation ready phase while also improving public perception of transportation research program contributions to State DOT missions.


Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):


Document the current status of state DOT research program strategic communication plans, marketing strategies, platforms used, and procedural guidance for the entire transportation research project lifecycle


Document case study examples of how state DOTs are applying research program strategic communication plans both internally and externally


Document case study examples of how state DOTs are implementing successful research outcomes


Document case study examples of successful marketing strategies (e.g., brand maps) in adjacent research communities (e.g., private sector)


Document case study examples of how state DOTs are using social media and/or internet video platforms to communicate throughout the research lifecycle and/or successful research findings


Identify challenges to research project implementation, strategic communication, and specific marketing strategies

How the Information Will Be Gathered:

Information will be collected through literature review, a survey of state DOTs, a survey of adjacent communities, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies/companies for the development of case study examples. Information gaps in research marketing practice, strategies and knowledge, and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.

Sponsoring Committee:AJE35, Research and Innovation Management
RNS Developer:Terry Swygert
Source Info:National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Accelerating Implementation of Transportation Research Results. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/22279.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2009. Communicating the Value of Transportation Research, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/14259.
Dawar, N. and Bagga, C., 2015. A better way to map brand strategy. Harvard Business Review, [online] 93(6), pp.90-97. Available at: <https://hbr.org/2015/06/a-better-way-to-map-brand-strategy> [Accessed 23 November 2020].
Date Posted:04/30/2021
Date Modified:03/08/2022
Index Terms:State departments of transportation, Research management, Research reports, Marketing, Communication, Social media, Information dissemination,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Administration and Management
Transportation (General)

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