Express Lanes

The Challenge

To accommodate Colorado’s growing population and ensure reliable travel times for motorists, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and its government-owned business, High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE), began adding Express Lanes throughout the state. 

However, a new system takes some time getting used to, and many drivers didn’t immediately take to them. So CDOT and HPTE needed a campaign to educate drivers on the benefits of using Express Lanes as well as how to use them properly.


CDOT and HPTE needed a campaign to educate drivers on the benefits of using Express Lanes.

Our Solution

We began by hosting focus groups. Two of the main takeaways from these focus groups were: people who have Express Lanes in their area and have tried them can quickly articulate their benefits; and people can see the value in Express Lanes when they benefit from them directly and in situations where they really need to save time. People do not connect with benefits for the greater good; it had to be personal. 

Based on these findings, CIG developed a campaign to highlight the specific benefits of Express Lanes: “When it matters most.” 

The first phase of the campaign was focused on encouraging people to try the US 36 and I-25 Express Lanes. Various campaign scenarios were chosen to make the story relatable and showcase the approximate time savings and affordability of using these lanes. The team used digital banner ads, traffic radio and bus posters, as well as grassroots outreach through social media, partner agencies and public information officers.

The second phase was specific to the I-70 mountain corridor and encouraged people to try the Express Lane, as well as highlighted the specific benefits that it’s a choice and can be a reliable tool when you really need it. The campaign included digital banner ads, social media, resort media such as chairlift panels in Vail, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Keystone, as well as digital chairlift panel ads, digital ads at food halls, lodges and ticket booths at the Winter Park Resort. The outreach also included social media posts and information distributed through partners, such as Go I-70.

The Results

Both phases of the campaign significantly exceeded expectations.

The first phase of the campaign garnered nearly 8.6 million total impressions — three times higher than our goal — through radio, digital ads, bus ads, digital bulletin boards and social media. Website traffic increased by 41% compared to the previous year.

On the I-25 North Express Lanes, usage increased by an average of 12%, and new ExpressToll account activations increased by an average of 76% in September and October of 2018 compared to September and October of 2017. In addition, there were 78% more switchable HOV transponders distributed in September and October of 2018 compared to the same timeframe the previous year.

The second phase of the campaign brought in more than 27.1 million total impressions through resort media, digital screens and chairlifts, social media and online ads.

Total impressions for both phases of the campaign combined exceeded 35.7 million. The results of the campaign showed our client the value of outreach in increasing awareness and influencing behavior when it came to Express Lanes. 

million impressions

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