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Bridging History: The Harford Road Bridge Project

Appendix C Public Relations Skill Set

Idea Name Detailed Description Implementation Details (barriers, skills set coordination, etc.)
Public Information Management FULL TIME NOT NECESSARY:
  • Baltimore City Public Affairs staff & liaisons.
  • Project spokespeople: Adrienne Barnes and Margaret Martin.
  • Media updates coordinated thru BCPA.
  • Public inquiries, BCPA.
  • Time management.
  • Competing priorities.
  • Obtaining information in a timely manner and after hours.
  • Only 2 "truly informed" spokespeople.


  • Collaborate with all entities that are involved with the project (i.e. work with transit to rearrange bus routes, work with schools to figure out pedestrian routes).
  • Have one office where you can get all of the information (BCDOT).
  • Have an FAQ sheet and project fact sheet.
Identify basic parameters and negotiable issues Given Issues:
  • A new Bridge is needed - Reconstruct vs. rehab.
  • Four lanes - no widening.
  • Pedestrian access - sidewalk.
  • Sidewalk with barrier.

Negotiable Issues?

  • Aesthetics/Façade? (graffiti exists now - resistant paint may be used/consider a mural?)
  • Bike lane separated from travel lanes.
  • Lighting underneath Bridge/along the pathway.
  • Beautification at Bridge approaches - public involvement.
Barriers:(Negotiable options contingent on these barriers)
  • Budget / costs.
  • Federal requirements (enviro, COE, design, etc).


  • Work with Bridge design staff to determine what's decided and what can we ask the public to help with.
  • Work with bike community to determine how to make route more bike-friendly.
  • Coordinate with park and rec in project scheduling, parking during construction, staging areas, etc.
Identify stakeholders
  • Business owners.
  • Residents.
    • Nursing Homes.
  • Community Associations.
  • Commuters.
  • Pedestrians.
  • Park users.
  • Churches/Schools/Institutions.
    • Morgan State University.
    • Montebello Elementary.
    • St Francis.
    • Mervo High School.
    • Johns Hopkins.
    • Pratt Library - Hamilton Branch.
  • Media.
  • Other government agencies.
    • MD Transit Adm. (Buses)
    • Rec & Parks.
    • DPW.
    • BCPSS Transportation (School Bus Routes).
    • Baltimore County - various.
    • MD SHA.
    • USPS.
    • SHPP.
  • Elected officials.
  • Special event coordination.
    • Festivals?
    • Concerts?
    • Marathon.
    • Recreation (Kid Sports).
    • Parking
  • Identify language needs. (Do you need to have signs/advertising, etc. in different languages?)
  • Special requests or provisions (people wanting us to accommodate for parking, business operations/access, special events, etc.)
  • Identify route issues - bus route schedules, emergency response routes, safe route to school, evacuation route.
  • Political turf wars.
  • SHPO requirements


  • Establish contact list.
  • Mailing list/e-group:
  • Residential (WWWWWH, fact sheet).
  • Business.
  • Media (News release/updates sent).
  • Governmental.
  • Community (churches/school/ institutions/hospital/etc.)
  • Schedule regular meetings/briefings.
Communication with stakeholders
  • Interagency coordination meeting.
  • Elected officials briefing.
  • PIO coordination meeting.
  • Emergency personnel meeting.
  • Community forum.
    • Informative - convey need to improve bridge.
    • Seek Input - context sensitive.
  • Media Outlets.
Barriers:(Negotiable options contingent on these barriers)
  • Scheduling meetings/availability.
  • Turnover/changing contact info.
  • Prioritizing needs/conflict resolution.
  • Mixed messages/competing message.


  • Utilize fact sheets, talking points and updated info developed by BCDOT public affairs.
  • Partnering agreement on one message (One Voice!).
Securing acceptance and participation of stakeholders Form Stakeholder Advisory Task Force.
  • Ongoing-Interagency coordination.
  • Ongoing-Elected Officials briefings.
  • Ongoing PIO coordination.
  • Ongoing Emergency Personnel updates.
  • Community Involvement - Listen, get input.

Project/Streetscape/Aesthetics forum.

  • To gain consensus get input from community.
  • Keep updated info going out.
  • Identify appropriate willing participants for advisory task force.
  • Participation in task force supported by hierarchy of individual organizations.
  • Reaching consensus.


  • Developing ground rules for task force.
    • Relay expectations.
    • Offer solutions to problems.
  • Representatives take info back to sub-groups and use info throughout the communities (ex: newsletters, brochures, etc.).
  • Task force keep project moving forward.
Most effective method of informing elected officials and constituents of progress and impacts
  • Hold updated official briefings (i.e. once a month, by request) to provide project info.
  • Send legislative briefings to state officials (info in hand to respond to citizen inquiries).
  • Use communications tools to keep public informed.
  • City/State Legislative Liaison and Community Liaison to manage.
  • Schedule coordination.
  • Be aware of constituents concerns.


  • Be on their luncheon agendas or schedules, etc.
  • Maintain project updates via newsletters, Web sites and media outlets.
Tools for communication with motorists, park users, pedestrian, and others during construction Brand Campaign:
  • Website.
  • Hotline - 311.
  • Radio Updates (Drive time = Paid spots).
  • TV - Traffic reports.
  • Overview brochures.
  • Newsletter for local community.
  • Media Kits.

Outreach Activities:

  • Media Buy-Radio, Standing column in The Sun/The Examiner/The City Paper and community newsletters - BBJ, Daily Record for updates/schedule.
  • Standing display in stores (Safeway, Hillen Road Shopping center, at the Park rest area).
  • Curious students/schools - "Bridge 101".
  • "Project 101" at local schools - teach the kids, inform the parents.
  • MONEY.
  • Message control, quality of pieces, accuracy of information.
  • Staff hours needed to complete writing, design, media buys, etc. (competing with similar needs for other projects).


  • Be sure project contract is offered with 1% funding for marketing/community outreach efforts.
  • Part-time consultants can be hired on an "as needed basis" to develop various media.
  • Centralized communication coordination through BCDOT PIO.
  • Organize project branding campaign: "BYOB" Brand Your Own Bridge contest to name project...and educational programs, etc.
  • Historic marker plaque/sign - note history of old structure on new structure.
  • Rough Branding Concepts?
    • A Bridge to Somewhere.
    • The Pride of the Park.
    • H20 - Home to Office.
    • Harford to Office.
    • Historical to...
    • Beautify Your Bridge.
    • The Link to the Lake.
    • A Park With Pride.
    • Not Your Grandfather's Bridge.
Collaborate and mange information released by media
  • Provide media updates coordinated thru BCDOT Public Affairs.
  • Coordinate press events and update info.
  • Distribution of information.
  • Constituent response coordinated with Mayor's Office and City Council members and staff (i.e. email, phone calls, constituent website).
  • Negative publicity.
  • Perception and comments from uninformed stakeholders.


  • Filter info out through having one message, developed by BCDOT PIO.
Develop a plan to engage stakeholders in acceleration of the construction process and communicate overall benefit/solicit assistance TBD. Barriers:
  • Keep all interested parties involved and informed before, during and after the project.


  • Maintain an updated listing of current or new residents, businesses and other stakeholders throughout the bridge construction.
  • Plan "activities" or "events" that involve the community to keep them involved and interested.
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Updated: 10/27/2015
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000