GDOT Wins Top National Award for Transportation Communications - Civil + Structural Engineer magazine


Safety for Middle School Students Focus of Marketing Partnership with Scholastic

ATLANTA, GA – Recognizing the Risk, a distracted driving and walking outreach program for Georgia’s middle school students, won the 2020 Excel Award from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO) Committee on Transportation Communications (TransComm). The campaign, a partnership between the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) and Scholastic, the children’s media company, won for “Best Integrated Campaign without a Consultant.”  The Excel award is TransComm’s highest honor.

The purpose of Recognizing the Risk is to engage Georgia’s youth in grades 6 to 8 about the dangers and consequences of distracted driving and walking before they establish those risky behaviors – before they get behind the wheel of a car. This innovative approach reaches an audience not already set in their bad habits on the roadway.

The first of its kind Recognizing the Risk cross-curriculum centers on student collaboration and problem-solving through English language arts (ELA), social studies and math.

“GDOT is proud to partner with Scholastic in this crucial outreach program to inspire positive social behaviors among students who walk as pedestrians and ride their bikes – and before these up-and-coming young drivers actually start driving,” said Georgia DOT Director of Strategic Communications Scott Higley.

Georgia DOT in partnership with the global children’s publishing, education and media company, Scholastic, launched Recognizing the Risk in 2019 to educate the next generation of Georgia drivers about unsafe behaviors. The three-year initiative, now in its second year, provides middle school students, teachers and parents with classroom resources focused on promoting pedestrian and driver safety by discussing the hazards of texting, headphones and other distracted behaviors. The program includes a poster teaching guide for teachers; a Recognizing the Risk digital education destination developed by Scholastic that includes lesson plans, student worksheets and projects that require critical thinking, persuasive writing, research and distracted driving/walking assessments at a location close to school; and a Student Advocacy Magazine Contest where students create a four-page magazine for distribution in their communities.

Recognizing the Risk complements GDOT’s Drive Alert Arrive Alive and See and Be Seen campaigns.

“Earning a TransComm Skills Award is a tremendous honor for state DOTs,” noted Lloyd Brown, AASHTO’s director of communications. “Award nominees are judged by other state DOTs, meaning that the winners’ work is considered outstanding and worthy of recognition by one’s peers.”

The TransComm annual communications awards is considered a premier competition in the transportation industry. While Georgia DOT has won numerous TransComm skills awards over the years, it has been over a decade since GDOT’s last prestigious Excel Award.

“This Excel Award is more than a normal skills award and to complete it without a consultant speaks volumes to the tremendous talent on our internal team, not just in our main office, but also our entire statewide communications team,” Higley said. “It means a lot to us for this outreach campaign to be judged so favorably by our contemporaries in other DOTs.”

For more information about this award-winning program for students, visit Recognizing the Risk.

Georgia Department of Transportation plans, constructs and maintains Georgia’s state and federal highways. We’re involved in bridge, waterway, public transit, rail, general aviation, bike and pedestrian programs. And we help local governments maintain their roads. Georgia DOT and its nearly 4,000 employees are committed to delivering a transportation system focused on innovation, safety, sustainability and mobility. The Department’s vision is to boost Georgia’s competitiveness through leadership in transportation. 



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