San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD)

CA: RTD Honored with 2013 APTA AdWheel Award

On Oct. 2, at its Annual Meeting in Chicago, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) awarded San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) an AdWheel First Place Award for its Metro Express promotional video.

The APTA AdWheel Awards recognize public transportation systems and APTA business members for excellence in advertising, communications, marketing, and promotion. RTD’s video was among over 500 entries that competed this year in the four categories of print, electronic, campaign, and special event. APTA awarded first place honors in various subcategories for each of the four groups, based on system size. RTD received its first place award in the subcategory of Video Presentation.

RTD staff created the video in-house at almost no cost as a promotional and persuasive piece prior to the launch of its third Metro Express corridor in July 2012. The goals of the video were to not only inform customers and the community about the new corridor, but also counter criticism questioning why RTD needed to build a third bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor. In response to the question, “Why BRT,” RTD used the video to answer, “Because it works.”

And the video worked, too: it reversed negative perception about BRT in Stockton, Calif., and was an effective educational and promotional tool for RTD’s employees, customers, and stakeholders on what BRT is, why and how it has been successful, and why RTD is using it as the backbone of a better transportation system. The video has received a lot of praise from RTD’s transit peers, who use it in the BRT planning process for other cities as an example of a successful BRT implementation.

Since RTD produced the video, BRT continues to be a success in Stockton: in Fiscal Year 2013, the three Metro Express routes carried 45 percent of RTD’s system-wide ridership. RTD has such high ridership on the Pacific Corridor (Route 40) that it will introduce 60-foot articulated Metro Express buses in January 2014.