Summertime Safety

Transportation Agencies Battle Spiking Highway Deaths

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For many Americans, summer is a time for rest and relaxation.

But to the agencies managing our nation's highways, summer has a very different reputation -- as the deadliest three months of the year. It's an alarming and seemingly contradictory fact: twice the number of people die on America's highways during the summer than during the rest of the year combined, as seeming benefits like dry roads and clear visibility are offset by factors such as heavy traffic (road trips, vacations, etc.) and a significantly higher number of intoxicated drivers. Of course these facts are well known to the nation's safety and transportation planners, who find themselves in nothing short of a war with the rising tide of grim statistics, and are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to reverse them. So as we yet again enter this paradoxical season of lowered inhibitions and heightened danger, SmartComment takes a break from public comment management and looks at how the problem is being tackled by those policing and protecting our country's roadways. And when the task is convincing Americans to slow down and sober up, the transportation agency battle plans we found are marked by communication, humor, creativity – and even tragedy.

Posted on June 25, 2015
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The Drought-Time Players

Cities Cast in a Central Role to Solve California's Water Crisis

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Perhaps no state in America offers a more varied or vast cultural landscape than California, which boasts enough iconic cache to fill an entire continent. From South Bay surfers to Silicon Valley data pioneers, from Hollywood studios to hardscrabble adobes, the state's distinct, fantastically diverse imagery has long aided its residents in bucking any outside attempt to classify them under a single banner.

Likewise, its cities operate less like conjoined governmental units than they do individual cultural fiefdoms. If you've ever watched the Game of Thrones opening that majestically showcases the kingdom's far-flung outposts (Dorne! King's Landing! Winterfell!) you know how it feels for Californians to look at the cities on their state map – each Spanish-tinged name offering something starkly and viscerally different from the others in a way that's almost lyrically crafted.

Posted on June 11, 2015
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DEQs Prioritizing Public Engagement Online

Success Stories in Environmental Agency Outreach

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Okay, so I know we saythere's a new era of public engagement going on out there. But there's really not. In fact, most people have been performing effective, modern public engagement for years – with the friends and family in our personal lives. After all, we all know how we want visitors to our homes to feel. We want them to feel wanted, not just welcome. Attended to, not just noticed. So we happily put in that little bit of extra work to ensure their experience is a good one. Give a little, get back a lot. The only thing that's new in public engagement is applying this same standard to the way decision-makers interface with their clients, stakeholders and customers.

Posted on June 4, 2015
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