- Portland, ME wants to launch a marketing campaign to promote using multi-modal transportation options to get downtown, according to The Forecaster.
- The campaign will encourage different transportation options not just for the city's nearly 67,000 residents, but also for visitors such as tourists, students and those who live elsewhere but work in the city.
- The city and five other stakeholders will provide a total of $30,000 in funding for the project.
Government leaders in Portland noticed the city's significant growth over the past decade and the effect that single-rider car trips are having on the area. They also acknowledged that the problems mainly lie in the city's downtown rather than throughout the entire region. The RFP requests that the new marketing campaign addresses the cost and availability of on-street parking in addition to highlighting the other means for getting into the downtown area.
Although similar marketing campaigns often focus on commuters, this one recognizes that the congestion downtown often involves visitors, and it therefore targets them as well. With proposals due today and work on the project to begin soon, the city is trying to reach the goal of releasing marketing information in the spring. That would allow the messaging to be in place just in time for Portland's busy summer tourist season. That timeframe also coincides with better weather when people would be more willing to consider walking or biking downtown instead of driving.
Transportation marketing is common throughout the country both in small and large cities, but transit entities typically spearhead the campaigns rather than municipal governments. Some examples are the Chicago Regional Transportation Authority's push to get young residents to use public transportation instead of driving, Amtrak's effort to boost ridership system-wide, Citi Bike's bikeshare launch in New York and the Toronto Transit Commission's ads aimed at encouraging existing customers to think about the system in different ways. Portland's methods reflect the growing trend for municipalities to collaborate with partners — such as private businesses or nonprofit organizations — to devise solutions to problems, rather than relying solely on the resources the city has at its immediate disposal.