Georgia DOT Promotes HOV, Work Zone Campaigns
19 August 1999Georgia DOT Promotes HOV, Work Zone Campaigns
ATLANTA, Aug. 19 -- The Georgia Department of Transportation is enthusiastic about two public relations campaigns which are designed to promote the Georgia DOT's commitment to highway safety, convenience and efficiency. At the State Transportation Board Committee of the Whole meeting held on Wednesday, August 18, Communications Director Vicki Gavalas told Board members that the agency is "energized" about both public relations efforts. The first of the campaigns will revolve around Georgia DOT's High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Extension Project. The project will extend metro Atlanta's current HOV configuration into the northern suburbs of Gwinnett County, as the lanes will be built from I-85 to State Route 316. Georgia DOT has contracted with three consultants who have created advertising and public relations initiatives that will not only promote the extension, but also will encourage the use of existing HOV lanes. "Luv the HOV" is the slogan and logo for the HOV campaign. The consultants have designed an "HOV Bug," a Volkswagen Beetle that has been painted on each side with the logo. The car will be primarily used in presentations to school children, but the Georgia DOT anticipates that adults will recognize the "HOV Bug" as part of the campaign. The other public relations effort emphasizes the importance of motorist behavior in and around construction work zones. The goal of the campaign is to increase awareness regarding work zone deaths of private citizens as well as Georgia DOT employees and contractors. According to statistics, three of every four deaths that occur in construction zones happen to motorists rather than highway workers. Colonel Bob Hightower, head of the Department of Public Safety spoke to the Board in support of the Work Zone Safety campaign. He cited recent legislation allowing off-duty Georgia State Patrol troopers to patrol work zones in marked vehicles as the first step in GSP's effort to promote work zone safety. The advertising consultants for the Work Zone Safety campaign introduced a mascot known as "Cone Man." Designed like an orange cone used in construction projects, "Cone Man" will also be involved primarily in education programs for children. Adults will be exposed to "Cone Man" as he makes various public appearances to encourage motorist safety in work zones. Paul Mullins, Director of Planning and Programming for the Georgia DOT, advised the committee of upcoming projects to be let in September. He also touched on developments in the Department's rail efforts, and he discussed updates for the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. Deputy Commissioner Steve Parks apprised the Board of a summary of information gathered at public hearings regarding billboard height requirements. Parks said a report developed by Georgia DOT to address public concerns indicates that Georgia DOT is in compliance with federal laws and regulations concerning billboard heights.