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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 1331, Portland, OR 97204

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Media Relations

Dylan Rivera

Public Information Officer

503-823-3723

For breaking news from Portland Bureau of Transportation see our Twitter feed: @PBOTinfo

For breaking news on overall service disruptions in the Portland-Vancouver metro area, go to @publicalerts or see www.publicalerts.org 


Marketing Transportation Options

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I came across an interesting article on the blog, Copenhagenize today.  The post focuses on a new bicycle company based in Minnesota that has a specific section of their website dedicated to appropriate cycling clothing.  But the blog article isn't really about bike gear, it's about how to market bicycling.  Here's a key point:

"Urban cycling is a product and products should be sold properly. If you want people to buy a product, it is generally not a good idea to overcomplicate it."

Then the author compares the marketing of bicycling to that of shampoo:

 

The offending outfit.

Image: civiacycles.com

"When you buy shampoo, you usually assume that you'll just have to squirt some in your hands and lather it into your hair. You may not choose to buy a shampoo that comes complete with two bottles that require you to mix two carefully-measured liquids together [measuring spoons included] with a custom-made mixing apparatus [batteries not included] after which you insert the completed mixture into the Shampoo Application Tool © [please use protective glasses!] that applies the shampoo onto your scalp. Pay $30 extra and get the newly improved Lather Removal Kit!"

The message?  Marketing should entice, not explain every painstaking detail (and therefore drive consumers away).  Think about the last car ad you saw on TV.  Did it mention the oil changes?  The scheduled repairs?  The cost of tires?  Insurance?

Obviously, cycling is different than shampoo (and cars).  And most of us are not in the business of selling bikes.  But it's an interesting phenomenon.  Do you think bicycles, and therefore bicycling, are marketed effectively?

Finally, what do you think about this new TV commercial for bikes?

 

1968 in LA: We Need Public Transportation

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Production values sag, but message still resonates

In 1968, the Southern California Rapid Transit District campaigned for a half-cent sales tax to build a heavy rail commuter system similar to BART in the San Francisco area.

The ballot measure failed on first and second attempt, but this political campaign gem lives on in the virtual library of YouTube. The pacing and production values are a little tough for a 21st century viewer, but the messages about the values of public transportation still seem fresh.

TriMet Issues New Tickets

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TriMet tickets are getting a make over to "speed up boarding on buses, reduce technical problems and help prevent fare evasion."  The transit agency also announced they'll be upgrading older ticket machines to reduce breakdowns.  Both of these changes should make riding Portland area bus and rail even easier.

To read the news release, click here.

Build It and They Will Come?

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NYC, Denver seeing gains in cyclists, real estate values respectively

Portland transportation planners have often employed the phrase, "Build It and They Will Come" to explain their approach to building a bicycling infrastructure from scratch in the early 1990s when there appeared to be limited demand. 

Some 15 years later it is easy to see their logic.  The City did indeed build a vast network of bicycling facilities - bike lanes, off-street paths, and bike boulevards (low-traffic streets that give bikes priority) - and cyclists have come in droves. 

Two recent articles are showing that the-build-it-and-they-will-come theory may also hold true in other cities, as well.  The New York Times is reporting a 35% increase in bike commuting between 2007 and 2008 in New York City!  Not surprisingly, the city added 140 miles of bike routes since 2007. 

Similarly, the Denver Post is reporting another phenomenon related to transportation infrastructure.  According to the article, home values near light rail lines in Denver, St. Louis, and San Diego are increasing, while real estate prices throughout the rest of those regions head south.  The article points to the developments occurring near the light rail lines, not simply the light rail itself, as an important driver of real estate values.

image: bikeportland.org

 

Are You Driving More?

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With the big dip in gas prices the news media is printing story after story on the decline's effect on our drivng habits.  The Oregonian published a story on Tuesday with the title, "Despite price drop, drivers stick with fuel-savings habits."

Is this what you think about gas prices?

But then Wednesday the New York Times ran a story entitled, "As Gas Prices Go Down, Driving Goes Up."

Hmmm....So which is it for you?  Are you driving more now that prices have dropped from earlier this summer?  Are you sticking with your frugal gas-sipping habits?  Are you a dedicated transit/bike/walker and not directly effected by pump sticker shock?

We want to know!