The importance of explaining "why"
Today, Big Sky Public Relations, in partnership with the Montana Department of Transportation, embarked on the public phase of education around a project that may stir up emotions in Missoula, the Van Buren Street Interchange. Why? Because change is hard. However, in this scenario, as is often the case, it is absolutely worth. Most importantly, these interchange improvements will save lives. How? Montana Department of Transportation will replace a four way stop (designed to handle traffic volumes of yesteryear) with roundabouts that move traffic not just efficiently, but safely.
The current traffic congestion, if left unchecked, will grow steadily worse every year. With congestion, comes accidents. Aggressive drivers race to beat a steady flow of oncoming traffic; hesitant drivers create backups that push traffic back onto the interstate. Given that this is a busy intersection for vehicle traffic and one of the most heavily traveled bike corridors in the state, the implications of vehicle/bike collisions are also high.
Montana Department of Transportation recognized that something had to be done.
However, although making improvements sounds good on the outset, it's rarely simple; the reality is that few of us easily embrace big changes. Especially if we don't know why change is necessary. In the scenario of the Van Buren Street Interchange, factor in that many Montanans are specifically averse to roundabouts and you have some challenges. Add to that, to complete the project, a large number of trees must be removed, which is historically tenuous territory in Missoula.
Montana Department of Transportation recognized sharing the "why" behind the changes to come was critical to building understanding and trust with residents of Missoula.
Here's one example of how they're doing just that:
Creating safe, efficient transportation systems that pave the way for life in our great state is a key part of the Montana Department of Transportation's mission. Learn how they're delivering on that mission in 2018 with upgrades to infrastructure and landscaping at the Van Buren Street Interchange in Missoula at www.mdt.mt.gov/pubinvolve/vanburen.