CPOG is the lead outreach firm for Orange County Transportation Authority’s (OCTA) SR-55 (I-405 to I-5) Improvement Project, which is widening SR-55 in both directions between I-405 and I-5 in the cities of Irvine, Santa Ana, and Tustin. CPOG is applying a customized outreach approach to generate local and regional awareness of the project by implementing a public awareness campaign that is proactive; equitable, inclusive of, and accessible to the needs of diverse project stakeholders, communities, and populations; builds and maintains trust with stakeholders; and uses data/metrics to evaluate outreach efforts and adjust strategy throughout the life of the project.
At project start, CPOG worked with OCTA to rebrand the project with a new logo that resonated with corridor stakeholders while complementing the agency branding; identified key messages, such as project purpose, need, and benefits; planned for special events, including a groundbreaking; developed a comprehensive social media strategy to expand outreach and engagement and refined the agency’s existing project presence by optimizing each platform; and incorporated messages related to OCTA’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Using census data and demographics, the team customized outreach tools to meet the needs of each community and with neighborhood-specific accuracy to ensure we met stakeholders where they were and in a way that was meaningful to them. The team also prepared a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility communications plan to provide a framework for addressing outreach strategies for hard-to-reach and underrepresented communities to ensure everyone had a seat at the table, and all stakeholders were considered during project outreach.
Working with OCTA’s Community Relations team, the CPOG team has helped develop all new collateral pieces, including a Fact Sheet, FAQs, and project maps and graphics to introduce the project to the community. A business ascertainment effort was completed, including phone calls to nearly 900 local businesses adjacent to the project corridor, to ensure they are aware of construction and that OCTA and CPOG understand their questions and concerns before shovels hit the ground.
The CPOG team also developed a Business Outreach Program, Focus on 55, to meet the unique needs of businesses throughout the business-centric corridor. Participating businesses received a communications toolkit with project materials customized to their specific needs, including information on access during construction, breakroom posters and counter displays for employees, and lunch and learn presentations to keep them in the know over the course of the project. Additionally, these businesses received marketing assistance through social media posts and spotlights on the project website, to increase exposure during construction. This complementary service was offered to businesses in the corridor cities.
The CPOG team works closely with OCTA to identify stakeholders for project briefings and presentations, including offering targeted briefings to corridor cities and first responders, as well as presentations to civic organizations and community/cultural clubs to reach various diverse audiences located throughout the Project area. In addition, the team hosts project information booths at community events and festivals staffed with bilingual team members to ensure we are actively engaging in both English and Spanish.
With construction underway, the CPOG team is actively engaged with the construction management team and the project contractor to provide weekly construction updates to the public, including weekly eblasts, real-time updates to the interactive Project Google Map and maintaining the project website to reflect the latest closure and detour information.