Saturday, August 1, 2009

'Transportation in 2' Debuts with Rail Safety

My colleague Sarah Swensson, OCTA's community relations specialist, dove into the social media scene just this week. She's now on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

She made this YouTube video, the first of regular spots on transportation news called, "Transportation in 2." She didn't do this to create online buzz about a hip party or hype up self-serving fluff. Instead, Sarah is utilizing the power of social media to talk about something deadly serious: Safety along hundreds of miles of train tracks in Orange County.

With residents and visitors crossing the train tracks to get to beaches, schools or work, this message is particularly important in San Clemente, where Sarah visited a class of elementary school-aged youths on the beach learning about rail safety.

Here are some other train safety tips from Sarah:

Tracks are for trains!
They are private property. Walking, jogging or playing on or near the train tracks is considered trespassing and is illegal.

Trains will not always blow warning horns.
Quiet zones will soon be established in residential and business areas along the tracks, so trains will no longer need to blow their horns.

Warning signs save lives!
Approach all crossings with care and do not ignore any warning signs or gates.
  • As a motorist, never drive around lowered gate
  • As a pedestrian, always stop, look and listen for a train before crossing the tracks at a designated pedestrian crossing
Never try to beat a train!
Trains can take up to half a mile to reach a complete stop. Trains cannot swerve to avoid people or cars and cannot stop quickly enough to avoid a collision.

Be Rail Safe In Your Community
Sarah and the rest of the OCTA team are committed to keeping Orange County safe around train tracks.

If you are interested in scheduling a Be Rail Safe presentation at your school, organization or community, please call (888) 855-RAIL or

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Best Bits: 'Bravo for Wildly Successful Gov. 2.0'

OCTA's Ted Nguyen, left, with Twitter author Deborah Micek and micro-blogger Mark Davidson, lead a discussion on using social media to boost public transparency.

From 'Social Sunday' Column of O.C. Register
As Posted by Jon Lansner on Sunday, July 26

Twitter features an instantaneous pool of information. So, sOCial sunday asked PR person Rochelle Veturis (@rochelleveturis) of LPA architects in Irvine to mine the Twitter river for a haul of Best Bits!

A hearty “Bravo!” for the wildly successful Gov 2.0 event hosted this week by @TedNguyen along with his friends and staff at the OC Transportation Authority.

Gov 2.0? That’s a term now synonymous with social media use by government agencies for communication and community outreach purposes.

The OCTA event featured a panel with some of the brightest stars in the Twitterverse. Attendees (from beginners to advanced) had the opportunity ask questions, meet other social media participants from Orange County, and return home with the ultimate resource – a public e-volvment toolkit.

Be encouraged by the fact that, yes, government and quasi-government agencies are sharpening their social media skills to save you money, work more efficiently and get relevant information into your hands in a manner that’s convenient for you.

If you’re not sure about your city’s social media offerings, shoot them a quick e-mail or look them up in GovTwit (the Twitter directory for government agencies).