DOT uses creative messaging to get attention

Posted at 4:51 PM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 18:22:02-04

If you've driven anywhere around Wisconsin lately, you may have noticed the creative messages on the state Department of Transportation's digital signs.

WisDOT communications specialist Gina Paige said signs such as "EVEN SUPERMAN WEARS A BELT, BUCKLE UP" are designed to get drivers' attention.

"As long as somebody is talking about it that means people are paying attention," Paige said.

Paige came up with the creative messaging campaign after seeing similar messaging on signs in other states. There is proof the messaging works.

"We noticed that 54 percent of drivers who participated in the survey said they changed their behavior after seeing the message," she said.

Paige and her team meet mid-month to determine the messaging for the upcoming month. Once they have come up with a phrase a control room operator posts it on the 142 signs around the state.

The messages post within minutes. "So everything we've got here is on a system so we input it here and then it's going to run through the network and it's going to go straight to the signs so it's pretty quick which is great," said Paige.

Paige said she is always looking for new messages to remind drivers to be safe, "We'll be traveling to Illinois and I'll see a message and be like, 'oh, slow down, let me take a picture of this while I'm sitting in the passenger seat' because my wheels are always spinning on how we can reach a different audience."

The WisDOT plans to hold a public contest this fall where people will be able to submit phrases for the boards.