Mass transit, bicycles and obesity – how about some direct dialog?

As I enjoyed an early morning ski in my neighborhood a week ago, I tried to take a few moments to enjoy the silence of the night. Except I found that 4:00 a.m. Seattle is no longer silent. The noise pollution from I-5 is so bad that it can be likened to international airport noise—even at the furthest points on the map away from the freeway. It’s a constant, loud hum, deafened only in daytime by the roar of closer vehicles. I also observed completely empty buses driving through snow in one of Seattle’s larger neighborhoods.

Our politicians talk of:
• More mass transit spending – which may not ease the amount of traffic, but instead only enable more traffic.
• More buses – which makes sense at main commuting times, but seem to just clog roadways (while empty) the rest of the time.
• Obesity – this comes up only when they’re talking about mass transit spending. (Gee, how about some public well-being?)

When they could be talking about:
• Public bicycle-share systems
• Subsidized bicycle and hiking boot programs
• Alignment of their special interests with transportation and (legitimate) fighting obesity goals
• Consumer health education

They say:
Mass transit helps fight obesity.

The idea being that people get exercise whilst walking to the bus or rail, which varies in degrees of legitimacy depending on how close people live. Interestingly, the further away from a stop an obese person lives, the less likely they are to make the trek, reducing the likelihood they will get that (limited) exercise. (Politicians never mention this.) So what they are really saying is mass transit helps prevent obesity, but does little to help people already suffering from obesity.

They mean:
Obesity helps justify spending on mass transit. Do politicians actually like obesity?

Raise your hand if you would like a little more direct dialog about obesity (or anything else) from politicians.

Raise your other hand if you are more direct in your marketing. Arms in the air, you are a champion.

Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.


Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

Thank you! This is going to feel good.

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