Who's behind the creative TxDOT signs?


SAN ANTONIO – Creative and festive slogans plastered on digital signs over Texas roadways have people on social media talking, and that's exactly what the Texas Department of Transportation aimed for when it formed the committee that creates and perfects the slogans.

Emily Parks, a social media coordinator for TxDOT, manages the agency's social media channels and is part of the eight-person committee responsible for the messaging. She said the committee was founded in June with the hopes of creating attention-grabbing messaging that can improve and reinforce important driving habits.

"These messages are about saving lives," Parks said.

On average, there are 3,500 deaths a year on Texas roadways and 94 percent of those deaths are due to driver error. Parks said that data is evidence of the fact that traffic fatalities are preventable and the individuals in control of preventing such fatalities are drivers themselves.

"We have to be creative in how we get these messages to drivers," Parks said. "We know that they're inundated with messages these days. We're trying to be creative and clever to capture their attention."

Parks said the agency started its creative messaging in the spring, then formed the committee to organize the process. The committee is comprised of employees in media relations, traffic safety and writing.

Ideas are generated among the group and fielded from social media. The messages are displayed around holidays, safety campaigns and even neutral sporting events, such as the Oklahoma-University of Texas football game.

Parks said the agency hasn't selected a slogan for Christmas, but received an idea through Twitter.

Those who have a slogan they would like to pitch to TxDOT can tweet them at @TxDOT, or send them an email at mediarelations@txdot.gov.

All ideas must meet the following criteria:

-Three lines of text
-No more than 15 characters per line
-Message must be related to safety (reducing speed, anti-drinking and driving, paying attention to the road)

The Thanksgiving-themed slogan has earned praise and laughter from Twitter users.

"On my way to the airport I just saw a sign that said, 'Gobble Gobble Gobble Go Easy on the Throttle' and tbh I’ve never been prouder of TXDOT," one Twitter user wrote.

Another said, "Thanks, TXDOT, for the unexpected poetry."

"Clearly these messages are working because it's spreading the word on social media," Parks said. "People are sharing our signs. People are talking about them. And that's what we want. We want people to be aware. Slow down, buckle up, don't drink and drive and focus and pay attention on the road."