Using data-driven messaging to transform a transit system's image

An SIR Case Study | Back to OUR WORK


SIR Client: GRTC Transit System

Challenge: In 2015, the multimodal transit system in Richmond, Virginia, was all too often viewed as just a public bus system that served only the limited-mobility population — exclusively within city limits. 

Action: Through a research-driven communications strategy, SIR helped reposition GRTC into a highly valued part of the whole region's long-term economic development.

  • We designed and conducted multiple in-person and online surveys across key audiences (business leaders, public officials, and current and prospective riders). The research aimed to better understand how stakeholders felt about GRTC, its services, and improvement ideas.
  • SIR then performed our sophisticated analysis to uncover and package both high-level and detailed findings. The data identified key audience demographics, resident satisfaction levels broken down by demographic, motivators of and barriers to using GRTC, and more.
  • As the final phase, we used the quantitative data to inform a a long-term, communitywide advocacy and communications plan.

Results: SIR is now helping GRTC share this strategic transit plan with its various stakeholders, advance it with the public, and roll it out across the broad region it serves — with measurable success.

In particular, a series of highly adaptable, SIR-produced “Did You Know?” videos (see below) have been particularly effective in spreading the word about the many data-backed benefits of riding GRTC.

SIR’s research and consulting support is designed specifically to ensure that GRTC becomes a national model in successfully driving transit forward — and to assure and maintain Richmond’s place as one of the best cities where everyone can live, work, and play.

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