In October of 2012, in the midst of an uncertain political climate, TheRide refocused planning and service improvement efforts on the “urban core” of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township. Through the county-wide planning and engagement process, and continuing into the urban core engagement and other projects, it was clear that more, accurate information needed to get to more people, more often. TheRide could plan and function more effectively when constituents, community and business leaders were up to date on services, benefits, challenges and operations of the transportation system.

In order to ensure that these groups were fully engaged, we didn’t want to just pump out more information. We decided to take the time and properly engage the community and, over the course of the next year and a half, introduce more specific information and services as people began to open up and engage with TheRide.

Our campaigns remained focused on positive, accurate information delivered in a way that people would engage with. First we reminded folks how great it is to be here, and that TheRide is a part of that. We created an unassailable image that the Ann Arbor area is a great place to live. We moved media dollars from large, national corporations to local sponsorships where possible, and we actually made life even better by installing big, beautiful photographs as part of the initiative.

Finally, we told people what they could do to help: Vote on May 6th.

1. It’s great here.
2. This is why.
3. This is what you can do.

The atmosphere in the Ann Arbor area is improving. The community and leaders are more open to information, and communication is flowing more easily.

A ballot measure to expand public transportation passed with 71% of the vote across three communities.