Public Transportation

Identifying Potential Coalition Members

Your transit system has developed relationships with a broad range of organizations that share an interest in the viability and expansion of public transportation. Now is the time to capitalize on these relationships to build a local coalition or network of support. In turn, your contacts can help recruit other members of the coalition from the groups with which they have connections and rapport. Coalition members may include people from economic development organizations, environmental groups, human service agencies, unions, disability organizations, elderly groups, contractors, financial institutions, citizen transit groups, civic and community organizations, and businesses.

Tip for Success

The key to building a successful coalition is to represent a broad array of interests. Policymakers are more likely to be influenced by a group they feel represents multiple perspectives and constituencies, and is committed to a common cause.

Approaching Past Partners

To get your coalition off the ground, you and your key partners can start by approaching other organizations with which you have worked in the past and that benefit from public transportation. Be prepared to talk about how important your working relationship has been in the past -- and how vital it is for the future of public transportation to continue to work together.

Approaching Prospective New Members

As you being developing a list of potential new members, give some thought to groups and individuals that benefit directly or indirectly from public transportation -- but with whom you don't yet have a working relationship. Seek out local chapters of national organizations that have a stake in supporting transit issues. Examples might include: AARP(formally known as the American Association of Retired People), many of whose members rely on public transportation for doctor's visits and grocery shopping; the Sierra Club, which is interested in reducing pollution and preserving natural resources; or Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which seeks ways to reduce the incidence of alcohol-related automobile accidents, particularly among young drivers. Be prepared to cite specific ways that public transportation benefits these groups and improves the community's quality of life.

Groups to consider approaching include:

Business Groups and Professional Organizations

  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Downtown/Suburban Merchants' Associations
  • Major Employers
  • Transit-Related Businesses and Organizations
  • Labor Unions and Professional Societies
  • Real Estate Developers
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Financial Organizations
  • Insurers
  • Energy Suppliers

Citizen Groups, Social Service Organizations and Units of Local Government

  • Human Service Agencies
  • Health Groups and Providers
  • Social Services Provider Groups (i.e., Welfare-to-Work)
  • Civic Organizations
  • Rider Organizations
  • Environmental Groups
  • Minority Organizations
  • Organizations Representing the Disabled
  • Senior Citizen Groups (i.e., AARP)
  • Transportation Safety Groups (i.e., Mothers Against Drunk Driving)
  • Neighborhood Committees
  • Educational Institutions, Colleges, and Universities, including Administrators, Faculty, and Students
  • Law Enforcement Groups
  • State Government Officials
  • County Government Officials
  • City/Township Officials
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