Where do creative safety messages on digital boards come from?

Where do creative safety messages on digital boards come from?

You’ve probably seen the creative digital message boards all across Wisconsin. In Madison, the most notable ones are the ones along the Beltline.

With phrases like “Han says solo down” and “No Oscar for best lead foot. Slow down,” it’s easy to catch drivers’ attention.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation Traffic Management Center in Milwaukee is the creative force that drives messages like these from concept to completion.

Communications manager Jon Riemann meets with traffic management staff members, traffic engineers, law enforcement officials and several others every two months, where they bounce ideas off each other that include references to pop culture while promoting safe driving.

“This is branding. This is marketing. And we want people to be aware of that,” Riemann said. “WisDOT is out there creating messages for the public that will help them travel safely.”

Riemann says before the meetings, the traffic management staffers will send emails that mention some of their new ideas every two months. They bring those ideas to the meeting and play off each other’s words to create messages that will resonate with the largest amount of people in the shortest amount of time.

“Create a message that will make people think,” Riemann said. “Maybe they will take it back to their office and say, ‘Hey did you guys see that one on the message board this morning? That was a great message,'”

With about 150 signs all across Wisconsin, Riemann said millions of eyes see the messages they put on the digital boards every day. During their meetings, Riemann said they plan phrases several months in advance, taking into account special events like football games and holidays to award shows and seasons.

Some messages the group bounced around at their meeting in June were:

Arrive safe and healthy. Skip the selfie.

Don’t snap your friends. Snap your belt.

Get your head out of your apps.

Eyes on the road. Hands on the wheel.

Blinker. The original instant message.

Driving on pills kills.

Leia off the gas. Slow down.

Have you ever wondered where these creative safety signs come from? I found out they begin in #Milwaukee. A team of ppl bounce ideas off each other using pop culture references to influence safe driving behavior. https://t.co/rW1a3IntC4
@WisconsinDOT pic.twitter.com/DbGCqxauZw

— Jamie Perez (@JamiePerezTV) June 13, 2019

Once they have several ideas they can all agree on, they get it approved and send their messages to traffic control board operators who then type the message into their computer system where it is displayed on message boards all across the state.

If you have an idea you would like to submit for future safety messages, you can email the Wisconsin DOT or tweet at them your ideas.

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