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PR Proposal for WMATA- Metro Silver Line

By Samantha Dean
President TerPR

Table of contents

Situation Analysis..3
Core Opportunity3
SWOT..4 -5
Research findings..6-10

Situational Analysis
In an effort to expand accessibility of the region, Metro conceived the idea of the 23 mile-long extension of the
rails system, called the Silver Line. This extension runs along the orange line from Largo Town Center to East Falls
Church, where it breaks off and heads North West with 11 new stops throughout Fairfax County, reaching out to
Dulles International Airport. The line will open in two phases with 11.6 miles of Phase 1 service to the Wiehle
Reston East station to open in 2014 and an additional 11.5 miles of Phase 2 service to the airport and Loudoun
County in 2018. The Silver Line is the largest expansion project by route mileage since the inception of the
Washington Metro in 1976.

Metro and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) have been under fire in the media for the
continuous delays in the opening of Phase 1. In February and again in early March MWAA announced further
delays due to failed achievements by the contractors and equipment that had been deemed below code. Now,
MWAA expects to turn the project over to Metro by April 9, 2014, prompting an official opening in July.

With this PR campaign WMATA will introduce the idea of connecting the people. The Capital City is the political
epicenter of this country. Nationally and internationally, people flock to Washington, fostering connections
among a variety of people. The Silver Line furthers the idea of connecting the people to new areas and new
industries. The campaign will increase awareness among riders and potential riders, current and potential
businesses in the area, residents, and shoppers, ultimately boosting Metros profit from rider fare.

Core Opportunity
WMATA should raise awareness, build ridership, and create stronger community partnerships with an effective
campaign. Failure to do so will result in poor rider turnout, meaning this project will not produce effective

Before the research and planning stages of the campaign a S.W.O.T. analysis provides Strengths (positive
internal attributes), Weaknesses(negative internal attributes), Opportunities (external occasions to take
advantage of), and Threats (possible external setbacks).

Variety of metro stations throughout the wide service area in and surrounding Washington, DC
o The Silver Line will add 11 new stations and 23 more miles to the network
Metro connects people through various Transit Zones
Rush+ rush hour services
Ecofriendly SmarTrip electronic passes for a quick, efficient entrance and exit from the metro
Social media presence already established
Multiple delays in construction
o On February 24, 2014 MWAA announced that the contractor failed to meet 7 of the 12 criteria
outlined in the contract
o On March 19, 2014 MWAA announced public address speakers and a communication cable failed to
meet code
Possible delays at peak times due to a decrease in trains on certain lines with the addition of the Silver Line
o Orange line from Vienna to East Falls Church- 6 less trains
o Blue line from Rosslyn to Pentagon- 2 less trains
o Orange line from Stadium Armory to New Carrolton- 3 less trains

S.W.O.T. continued

Most of Tysons Corner will be within a half-mile of a Silver Line station.
o That includes Tysons Galleria and Tysons Corner Center shopping malls, restaurants, and jobs in the
The Silver line provides easy access to DC, attracting DC commuters to live in the area, causing an
expansion in housing
Ecofriendly; metro use helps unclog roads and is better for the environment
Increasing fare prices
o Especially during peak hours
Riders are unaware of the Silver Line
Lack of pedestrian walkways/ biking paths in the areas near the stations

Background Research
Following the S.W.O.T. analysis, background research was completed to understand how WMATA Metro can capitalize on strengths
and opportunities and address weaknesses and threats.

Metro currently provides 5 lines throughout the District of Columbia
and the surrounding counties. Some basic background information
about the current Metro and service area include;
Today, there are 86 Metro stations in service within a 106.3
mile network
o The Silver Line will add 11 new stations and 23 more
miles to the network
Metrorail and Metrobus serve a population of 5 million within
a 1,500 square-mile area
Overall, 45 percent of those working in the center core
Washington and parts of Arlington Countyuse mass transit.
In FY 2012, Metrorails highest ridership days were:
o March 23, 2012: 845,669 (Cherry Blossom Festival)
o June 7, 2012: 844,671 (Nationals Baseball Game)
Metro connects people through various Transit Zones. Transit
Zones consist of Washington, D.C., Montgomery and Prince
Georges Counties in Maryland, and Arlington, Fairfax and
Loudoun Counties in Virginia

Image from:

Background Research

Metro has a fairly well used social media platform as well as services adapted for smart phone
use. The services available include: Metro's Trip Planner, next scheduled departure for Metrorail
or Metrobus service near you, next Metrorail train arrival times, elevator/escalator outages,
service disruptions, a system map, and SmarTrip online account access.
On Twitter, @Metrorailinfo (16.6 k followers) is the official service info feed for Metrorail in the
National Capital Region, which gives updates of metro operations. Also, @wmata (60.1k
followers) is the news feed directly from Metro, which contains clever and exciting tweets,
alerting followers to upcoming DC events, gives rider tips, etc.
Metro has a Facebook page, named Metro Forward, which only has 7,127 likes. The number of
Facebook interactions pales in comparison to that of twitter.
Finally, Metro has a Youtube account named Metro Forward.
This account hosts a variety of videos about;
Metro Transit Police public awareness
Momentum 2025: Strategic Plan for Regional Growth
The new 7000-Series Metrorail cars
Rebuilding the Metrorail system
Other various tips for riders

Image from www.youtube.com/user/MetroForward

Background Research

Metro will need to make a few adjustments to make room for the Silver Line trains during peak hours;
Add Silver Line trains every 6 minutes on Silver Line
Redirect 2 more Blue Line trains per hour onto the Yellow Line
Convert some Orange Line trains from Vienna to Silver Line trains

Image from www.planitmetro.com/2013/03/12/what-will-happen-to-the-rail-

Background Research

Wait times, whether longer or shorter, depends
heavily on origin and destination. According to a
study conducted by Planitmetro.com;
About 50% of all existing riders are
One-third of all existing riders will see
shorter average wait times, and new riders
will use the Silver Line.
11% of existing riders will see longer wait

In the Winter 2014 Silver Line Report, real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield cited more than twenty real estate
development projects in the planning/beginning stages around the five new Silver Line stations. These projects
Over 20 million sq. ft. of new office space, which increases the total office space in the Tysons area by 40%
Over 2 million sq. ft. of new retail space
17,800 new residential units, which is more than double the current population of the Tysons area.
9,300 hotel rooms

Image from www.planitmetro.com/2013/03/12/what-will-happen-to-the-rail-

Background Research
(Winter 2014 Silver Line Report research continued)
Since 2010, $1.2 billion in investor transactions have been executed within the vicinity of Phase I. The report also
states that these projects will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue each year for Fairfax County. The
projects are valued at more than $18 billion.
The report also mentions that, while currently there is a lack of walking/ biking paths for pedestrians around the
stations, these too are in the future plan.

According to CBS DC, a study conducted by the WMATA in early
September 2013 showed that rider awareness of the Silver Line is far
below expectation. Nearly half of riders polled were completely unaware
of the new line. Many of those who knew about the Silver Line had no
idea where the track was being built or where metro stops were to be
In an attempt to educate riders, Metro released a new Metro map mid-
September 2013, which depicted Phase 1 of the Silver Line.
Primary Research Suggestion
From this secondary research, TerPR recommends conducting primary
research by polling riders in the DMV are with access the the metro.
Through this poll, Metro could determine attitudes of riders regarding the Silver Line. The results will allow TerPR
to customize programing to achieve desired outcomes.

The Silver Line will be well known throughout the DMV area, creating excitement and rider loyalty

Increase DMV residents awareness of the Silver Line by at least 35 percent within the next 6 weeks
Generate at least 65 percent favorable social and traditional media reviews over the next year, starting on
the grand opening, July 5, 2014
Increase visits to website services, such as Metro's Trip Planner and SmarTrip online, by at least 40
percent within the next 6 months
Attract at least 2,000 people to the grand opening event on Friday, July 5, 2014
Entice at least 125,000 metro riders to ride the Silver Line within the first week of operation
Host at least 3 events involving the local Virginia communities within the first 6 months of operation

o Current metro riders
o Prospective Silver Line riders
o residents along the silver line
o current and potential business owners in the area
o local officials
o metro employees
o local and regional media
WTOP/CBS DC/Fox 5 DC/WJLA/Washington
Business Journal/Etc. (many more media sources
will be compiled in a document when pitching
for media coverage in the near future)

o Parks and Recreational services in Virginia interested in drawing people out of the urban areas
o Ecofriendly residents in the DMV area/ Eco activists
o National media

o WMATA employees


o Silver Line: Connecting Communities (Single Over-riding Communication Objective)
This is short, sweet, and to the point
Memorable and meaningful

o Silver Line: fast, safe, reliable, and convenient
o Silver Line: moving forward to greater connections
o Silver Line: another step in the ecofriendly direction
o Silver Line: building businesses through transportation
o Silver Line: The New Gold Standard
o The Silver Lining to your commute

WMATA services everyone in the metro area, from senators to
school children. Part of the beauty in the metro experience is
the diversity of the riders. Instead of a celebrity spokesperson,
it would be more impactful to have any average rider in ads/
promo photos/ brochures/ etc. By having regular people
represent WMATA the messages are universal to all of the
riders. For any events or media relations in which a speaker
must be present or directly quoted use WMATA spokesman,
Dan Stessel.

Have a presence at various Summer DC events to promote awareness of the upcoming Silver Line
Engage current metro riders via new social media efforts such as Twitter and Vine
Host WMATA Silver Line Grand Opening on July 5, 2014
Partner with businesses located near the Silver Line to create community-wide promotions including
discounts and prizes
Reach out to regional and local news outlets to cover the grand opening ceremony
Use the Slogan Silver Line: Connecting Communities, as the single over-riding communication objective
Use average riders as the many faces of WMATA on ads/ promo photos/ brochures/ maps/ posters/ etc.

Attend various Summer DC events and pass out merchandise such as pens and new metro maps
o Nationals games
o Truck-a-roo Food Truck Festival

Social media efforts can include the following:
o Twitter
#SilverLineDC. People post photos of their rides on the Silver Line and what they did once they
reached their destination. Photos can be encouraged to be funny and creative. For example, a
group of young women shopping at the Tysons Corner area shops can post a photo of their
mountain of shopping bags on twitter with this hashtag.
o Vine
Vine could also be linked to Twitter via #SilverLineDC, but instead of photos, Vines are short, 6
second videos on loop.
o The most popular picture or Vine video as determined by retweets will win a year of free and
unlimited fare

Tactics continued

Host a Free Fare weekend on the Silver Line on July 4-6 2014, allowing riders to experience the Silver Line
for the first time without cost. This will also encourage more people to attend the WMATA Silver Line
Grand Opening on Saturday, July 5. People around the Silver line can attend the Fourth of July parade and
festivities downtown via Silver Line access

Host a Block Party in downtown Tysons, VA, for the WMATA Silver Line Grand Opening on July 5, 2014.
This is a major holiday weekend in DC when many people are off and travel throughout the area for
summer parties and outdoor activities. By planning this on Saturday, people will still be available to attend
the parade and fireworks in DC the day before without conflict. During this weekend there are many retail
stores which host sales annually for the holiday occasion. WMATA could partner with businesses (possibly
even Tysons Corner Mall) to cross promote the weekend events. Stores could endorse Silver Line
transportation, drawing more customers to their stores.

o At the Block Party, encourage people to come dressed in red, white, and blue to celebrate the
Fourth of July holiday weekend. The person with the most creative outfit will receive free and
unlimited metro fare for a year
o Food Trucks and live local music could be set up in the area between the metro stop and the mall.
o At some point in the afternoon WMATA spokesman, Dan Stessel, could address the crowd on the
perks of the Silver Line in a quick speech.
o Hand out promotional items such as buttons, hats and shirts. People love free trinkets. By passing
out things that people wear WMATA is gaining exposure wherever those people travel with the
merchandise on. The promotional items will also have information for WMATA website services,
such as Metro's Trip Planner and SmarTrip online

Tactics continued

Use ads, promo photos, brochures, maps, and posters to advertise the WMATA Silver Line Grand
Opening. These resources can also promote the social media competition for the most retweeted photo
or Vine Video

Partner with an area business around the Silver Line, possibly Tysons Corner Mall, which has a large open
area, such as a field or clear parking lot. WMATA can host a Metro-In movie, instead of a drive-in movie.
People can vote for one of three movie choices by using #SilverLineMetroMovie1/
#SilverLineMetroMovie2/ or #SilverLineMetroMovie3.

WMATA could attend the DC September Job Fair representing jobs within WMATA, but also as a partner to
help people with their commutes. With The Silver Line, there are many more job possibilities within
commuting distance for those who rely on metro to travel. Silver Line could sponsor Virginia-based
businesses that opt to attend the event. Those employers could have Silver Line ads and metro maps to
pass out to prospective employees.

As discussed with the grand opening, WMATA could partner with businesses (possibly even Tysons Corner
Mall) to cross promote Back to School, Black Friday, and Winter Holiday shopping. Stores could endorse
Silver Line transportation, drawing more customers to their stores.

For the Winter Season, WMATA could host the Silver and Gold promo. To spread holiday Cheer, WMATA
will randomly select 1 metro car of a train on the Silver Line each week in November and December, giving
every person in that 1 train car free and unlimited metro fare for a month.

For the 1 year anniversary of Silver Line, which will be on a Sunday in 2015, WMATA could host a parade
float in the Fourth of July DC parade, manned by real WMATA employees. The float could celebrate a year
of connecting communities. From the parade float, WMATA employees could hand out promotional items
such as buttons, hats and shirts.

Phase II Tactics
WMATA can capitalize on the successful opening of Phase I and promote the future line. WMATA can use
adds with riders smiling, riding the Silver Line, with the message Silver Line: Connecting You, Part II.

WMATA can host a groundbreaking event in October 2014 called Silver Line: Future Forward. WMATA
could host an event in the National Zoo at the annual Boo at the Zoo event. Everyone who dressed up as
something futuristic would be entered into a raffle for free and unlimited metro fare for a month.

Keeping in theme with the idea of connecting
communities, WMATA could host a contest for
local artists to work on the inside of the new
metro stations for Phase II. Metro stops often
have murals, sculptures, and installation pieces.
Artists could submit proposals online. WMATA
could choose the best ones and post the idea
online. People could vote for their favorite
artistic idea online and see it come to life when
Phase II opens. This keeps the public engaged
even though the project is under construction.


May 2014 - place ads/ promo photos, brochures, maps, and posters to advertise the WMATA Silver Line Grand Opening.
-Partner with shopping/ other businesses in Tysons and use the ads for Fourth of July Sales
-attend Nationals games and pass out new metro Maps
June -attend Truck-a-Roo Food Truck Festival and pass out new Metro maps
July -July4 6 is free fare weekend
-July 5 Grand Opening and Block Party (First cross promotion event with Virginia retailers/ other businesses)
-launch #SilverLineDC Twitter/Vine contest
August - Metro-In movie event
September - Back to School cross promotion event with Virginia retailers/ other businesses
-DC Job Fair / cross promotion event with Virginia employers

October - Ground Breaking Silver Line: Future Forward celebration for PhaseII
November - Black Friday/ Holiday Season cross promotion event with Virginia retailers/ other businesses
-Beginning of Silver and Gold promo (runs through December as well)
December -Finish Silver and Gold promo
January 2015 - ads for Phase II go up
April - call for local artists to submit metro stop installation art ideas
May - People can vote online for an artist to win, polls close May 31
July - Fourth of July DC parade float, celebrating 1 year of the Silver Line


In order to evaluate the campaign, WMATA must look back at objectives;
Did WMATA generate at least 65 percent favorable social and traditional media?
Did visits to website services, such as Metro's Trip Planner and SmarTrip online, increase by at least 40
percent within 6 months?
Did 2,000 people attend the grand opening?
Did at least 125,000 people rude the Silver Line within the first week?
Did WMATA host at least 3 events involving the local Virginia communities within the first 6 months of
The campaign must be evaluated on outcomes, outputs, and outgrowths
o WMATA should also measure the attitudes of riders in the DMV are with access the metro. Through
this poll, Metro could determine attitudes of riders regarding the Silver Line at this time, and
compare to the attitudes before the campaign was in full swing. This primary research allows
WMATA to directly see the outcome of the campaign in the attitudes of the public.
o Actions taken. Did WMATA execute all the events it set out to create?
o Opportunities that arose are linked to outcomes and outputs. WMATA must ask the public what
things swayed opinions in order to understand which programs were more impactful. These
questions can be rolled into the polling mentioned under Outcome.