Northern Virginia is known for its congested roadways and stop-and-go traffic. The metro area around Washington, D.C. holds the title as the nation's highest rate of road congestion.
To help drivers and passengers in the Northern Virginia area navigate traffic more effectively, Transurban and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) created the 95 Express Lanes. To educate area drivers of the new lanes and their effects, Transurban and VDOT turned to O'Keeffe & Company to ensure thorough communication.
O'Keeffe & Company and Transurban initiated a soft launch of the 95 Express Lanes website and developed the Make a Plan campaign. The nearly year-long pre-opening campaign consisted of a grassroots public information program that included commuter and community outreach. In 2014, the team reached more than 150,000 people by staffing more than 75 community, lobby, and commuter lot outreach events. The program also encouraged drivers to sign up for email updates and included monthly dialog with the media to create news stories about the road opening.
The opening of the 95 Express Lanes culminated with a celebration with roughly 350 attendees. Survey data indicated that the marketing campaign led to a 23 percent improvement in Northern Virginia area drivers' familiarity with the Express Lanes. The campaign garnered 395 pieces of news coverage and more than 200,000 unique customers traveled on the 95 Express Lanes within the first month of operation.