How do you engage the community on a transit project?
In 2017-18, the City of Tampa started planning for expansion and modernization of its downtown-to-Ybor City streetcar line by determining what routes would be optimal and what types of streetcars would be the best to recommend for the service.
B2 Communications worked closely with the City of Tampa and with the planning team led by HDR on the transit project.
B2 organized well-attended public engagement sessions, worked closely with the news media, and worked with the team to facilitate one-on-one and small group meetings with key organizations and leaders around the city, focusing on the downtown core.
A key in this transit project work was in explaining why the initial routes chosen were the most favorable, and why the system needs to be built in phases.
The Streetcar project was enthusiastically received by the public, and there was a wide, shared understanding of why the initial routes were chosen and how the project would unfold. Positive news media coverage and good feedback from the community both played a role in the project being received well by city leaders.
The clearest success metric was having the city government approve the plan; however, B2’s work was also judged on the tone of media coverage and engagement rates during the public information sessions. Media coverage was accurate and positive, and public information sessions had a good turnout with productive discussions.