The Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s (TTI’s) Teens in the Driver Seat® (TDS) program won this year’s Transportation Research Board (TRB) competition called Communicating with John and Jane Q. Public, which began in 2007 to highlight successful transportation communication efforts.
The theme of this year’s TRB competition was “communicating transportation needs with targeted populations.”
Five recipients were chosen from 17 entries across the United States to present their communications tools and techniques at podium and poster sessions during TRB’s annual meeting January 10-14, 2016, held in Washington, D.C. TDS was named the overall competition winner.
As part of the competition, TDS set up a web page detailing numerous aspects of the program, which began in Texas in 2002. Since its inception, TDS has been implemented in some 1,000 high schools in 38 states, reaching one million teenagers with the message of safe driving.
“Our program is peer-to-peer, so teens have a very big role in our communication efforts,” TTI Research Specialist Stacey Tisdale explains. “We study what they’re doing behind the wheel and then ask for their input. We polish up their ideas and then put it back out to them. As a result, the messaging is teen focused, which gives us more buy-in.”