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Message from the RTA Chairwoman 10-12

Message from the Chairwoman of the RTA

Last month we reported that accidents involving the streetcars are down from 18 accidents per 100,000 miles in 2009 to only 8 accidents per 100,000 miles in 2012. We talked about our Rail Safety Campaign designed to create awareness of streetcar track safety. The Live Outside the Lines campaign was developed by the agency’s Marketing Department in collaboration with the Spears Consulting Group, a local, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) contracted by the agency to help develop and implement the campaign. Launched in March of this year, Live Outside the Lines included both electronic media advertising and community-based outreach to ensure that every citizen had access to the message that tracks can kill.

This month we are proud to announce that the American Public Transit Association (APTA) has recognized the RTA for the quality of the Live Outside the Lines safety campaign with first place awards in two categories of the 2012 AdWheel national competition in addition to a grand award for best overall campaign within one of those categories. The RTA received first place in the category of electronic media for the campaign’s bold and pointed Public Service Announcements (PSAs) targeting pedestrians, joggers, cyclists, drivers and all who encounter the streetcars on a regular basis. The PSAs were produced by Deltree, a New Orleans based creative entrepreneur, and aired on all local television stations.

The agency also received a first place award and the grand award for best overall campaign in the AdWheel competition’s Overall Campaign category for developing a comprehensive, engaging, and effective campaign which to date has yielded a 70% reduction in incidents along the streetcar line. With the launch of the campaign, signs lined the Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue neutral grounds to bring awareness of the potential danger and the need for caution. PSAs were aired on local television stations, the marketing and communications department went on a full media blitz and the campaign was covered by most of the local news stations, social media was also utilized to spread the message. An entire community engagement campaign spearheaded the grassroots efforts while printed material and t-shirts served as important reiteration of the campaigns messaging. All of these strategies and resources were used in the overall campaign to educate the public on the ways to effectively coexist with the powerful vehicles and the tracks that carry them.

These awards, first and foremost, speak to the RTA’s commitment to the safety of our riders, our employees and the citizenry at-large. Because we know that the difference between a minor accident and a fatal accident is about one-tenth of a second, we are working every day to prevent accidents on the tracks. We know that streetcars travel at a lower speed than most rail vehicles but, like many other rail vehicles, most streetcars cannot come to an immediate stop. The difference in time and inches can be a matter of life and death.

These awards are also about partnership, teamwork and collaboration. The significant decrease in rail and bus incidents that the agency has experienced over the past three years could not have occurred without our partnership with Veolia Transportation Services, Inc. Our drivers, supervisors, support staff and administrators are One Team in the pursuit of safety and the Live Outside the Lines campaign could not have been successful without the entire Team, and most importantly without the diligence and skills of the streetcar operators working inside the lines. The quality and effectiveness of the campaign itself are the result of collaboration between the Marketing Department, the Operations Department and the local entrepreneurs the agency engaged to bring their insight, expertise and cultural competence to the process.

Last but not least, these awards illustrate the agency’s commitment to equitable economic opportunity through our Small and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Programs. This project was a first opportunity for the Spears Consulting Group to do business with the RTA and the efforts of the small business have yielded the agency increased safety on the rail lines and not one, but two first place awards for excellence.

The RTA and Spears Consulting Group will be recognized at this year’s American Public Transportation Association’s Annual Meeting in Seattle Washington during the AdWheel Awards Ceremony. On behalf of the Board of Commissioners congratulations on a job well done!


Barbara C. Major


Regional Transit Authority Board of Commissioners


Reprinted from letter for Tribune, October 2012

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