The Trinity Metro TEXRail billboard campaign was directed at two primary audiences: commuters who traveled via single-occupancy vehicles between the central business district of Fort Worth and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport along the Texas State Highway 121 corridor; and local leisure travelers who may have had pent-up travel desires.
Leading up to the pandemic’s onset, riders frequently utilized Trinity Metro TEXRail to access DFW Airport for domestic and international flights, commute to workplaces, as well as attend events in partner cities, including Grapevine. Ridership on TEXRail had suffered significantly at the onset of the pandemic. International and domestic air travel also experienced significant declines in passenger counts. Many large and small employers opted for remote work options for their employees. In addition, many communities canceled their large-scale public events. However, in 2021, air travel options were increasing, communities were reinstating some public events and, although not at its pre-pandemic levels, employers were gradually returning to in-person office settings.
With these major reasons to ride slightly less of an obstacle, Trinity Metro’s marketing and communications team set out to motivate rail ridership along the existing commuter corridor, which aligned with the path of TEXRail tracks. The team devised a billboard campaign that stressed messages of cost savings, avoidance of traffic and enhanced safety protocols. Trinity Metro aimed to inform past and potentially new riders that TEXRail provided a safe, convenient and affordable means to arrive at desired destinations along the Highway 121 corridor for employment, leisure travel and fun.
Billboards were live March 1-Aug. 22, 2021. Monthly ridership increases were achieved every month from April 2021 through the end of the year. Individual monthly variances for the period of April-August 2021 were +127%, +108%, +124%, +138% and +89% respectively. At the end of the 2021 calendar year, TEXRail ridership had increased 45% year-over-year. Ridership in December 2021 was TEXRail’s highest revenue-service month in the railway’s history, surpassing pre-pandemic passenger counts.
Trinity Metro was able to grow TEXRail ridership in dramatic fashion in mid-2021 by assuring riders that the rail service was a safe, cost-effective and convenient alternative to single-occupancy vehicle usage. Growing ridership to pre-pandemic levels was an unexpected, but welcome accomplishment. The campaign exceeded expectations and the resulting ridership was especially noteworthy to yield the highest monthly ridership in the commuter rail line’s history.
Award of ExcellenceSpecial Tactic Public Relations Society of America, Greater Fort Worth
Trinity Metro TEXRail Billboard CampaignBest Marketing and Communications to Support RidershipPrint Media