MTI Newsletter Vol 17, Issue 2: Spring 2011

MTI Goes Electronic

As a University Transportation Center (UTC), the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) must concern itself with how many ways it can put its research reports into the hands of people who need that information. MTI uses taxpayer money for its research, so it would follow that the taxpayer must receive a decent return on that investment.

Some time ago, before the Internet was the “go to” place for information, MTI did what most organizations did – it published hard copies of its research reports for distribution through the mail. Of course, that can become expensive, especially in a time when funds are harder to come by. More

Over the past few years, MTI has taken a different approach. A small supply is printed in hard copy, while the bulk of our distribution is online. With creative marketing, MTI has been able to boost its document downloads significantly within a relatively short time. Many of our titles have garnered a healthy download rate for two or three years, or even longer, beyond their publication dates.

When MTI researchers and staff attend conferences, they often carry along a supply of research briefs to distribute. These are one-page summaries of MTI research reports, with information about how to download the full version. It helps promote MTI’s work while boosting the web site metrics. Equally important, it means that booth visitors won’t be given yet another publication, adding more weight to their carry-on bags. And of course, this newsletter is another example of moving away from paper while making our publications more useful, portable, and searchable.

However, creative marketing alone isn’t a silver bullet. MTI has been making many improvements to its web site. Those efforts have been showing good results as the upgrades continue, making the site more user-friendly and topically relevant. It’s still a work in progress, and it will take a bit of time because the regular daily postings can’t be left on the wayside. But MTI’s goal is to have an ADA-compliant site with rich content – something that all of you will find useful.