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Virtual Press Office to improve EU Sustainable Surface Transport research media visibility on a national and regional level

Final Report Summary - PRESS4TRANSPORT (Virtual press office to improve EU sustainable surface transport research media visibility on a national and regional level)

Executive summary:

PRESS4TRANSPORT comprehends a consortium of 7 partners which is a mix of scientific experts in the transport field and communication experts. Each of the following partners contributed to the success of the project by jointly collaborating to reach the scheduled targets:

- Cybion Srl (Italy) - Project coordinator.
- Inovamais (Portugal).
- European Journalism Centre (Netherlands).
- Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Department of Highway and Railway Engineering (Hungary).
- Maritime Development Centre of Europe (Denmark).
- Università di Roma La Sapienza - Polo per la mobilità sostenibile (Italy).
- Association Europenne Des Fournisseurs Automobiles Aisbl - CLEPA (Belgium).

The project resulted in the creation of a Virtual Press Office dedicated to European, national and regional Sustainable surface transport (SST) related projects. The main objective of the Virtual Press Office, consisting of a user friendly platform available at http://www.press4transport.eu was to help projects disseminate and communicate their results, news, events by transforming their 'raw material' into professional press releases and by distributing them to major selected traditional and online media.

The project run over a period of 24 months during which successful results were registered: registration on the platform and participation of 117 projects uploading material, editing press releases, contributing to the newsletters, updating news and events, participating in the events and enriching PRESS4TRANSPORT with their contributions:

- production of 80 press releases published on PRESS4TRANSPORT website and distribute to the PRESS4TRANSPORT media list;
- more than 56 articles published mainly on online media;
- participation to 2 international events (TRA 2010 and SEETRANS2011);
- 6 newsletter issues distributed to more than 600 contacts;
- participation to almost 50 events all over Europe;
- 400 pages registered on Google;
- stability of the average visits per months: 500.

This document, in particular, will describe:

- PRESS4TRANSPORT context and main objectives - how they have been reached and difficulties encountered and tackled;
- the main results and achievements reached by the project;
- the potential impact, the audience reached, the main dissemination activities and the exploitations of results.

Project context and objectives:

PRESS4TRANSPORT officially began on 1 September 2009. The project was born mainly to create a link between research, industry and the media. This link is essential for arriving at positive results and for promoting the most relevant transport research so that they are not neglected or improperly communicated creating misconceptions of major European surface transport research progress.

In this way, the project PRESS4TRANSPORT served as a stimulus of promotion of European, regional and national transport research programmes and their respective projects.

The final goal of PRESS4TRANSPORT is to combine the skills of the partners - communication campaign, media coverage assistance, online service management - to help the national and regional transport projects receive the necessary assistance in improving their overall visibility.

Better public engagement, raising awareness and education are important components of the communication and dissemination strategy for the 'Transport' theme.

One of the central roles in awareness raising within a dissemination strategy is played by the involvement of the media: communication of research results via the relevant media sources (newspapers, general magazines, specialised magazines, websites and portals, blogs). Research results, news and developments in the surface transport industry must be given large and appropriate visibility to have an impact on the public - both those who act as consumers and those just generally interested in being informed.

PRESS4TRANSPORT aimed at generating public awareness on the importance of SST systems, whether they were related to logistics, rail, road, or maritime by disseminating information on the most potentially innovative projects developed at a national, regional or European level.

The aforementioned objective was mainly targeted through the project core activity - the design, implementation and delivery of the Virtual Press Office service - which constituted a direct and operative support to the projects coordinators in the communication and dissemination of their projects outcomes to the general and/or specialised media.

Nonetheless, PRESS4TRANSPORT also aimed specifically at:

- providing the European Commission and the project coordinators with a survey based evidence of the visibility of SST topics;
- increasing as much as possible the project coordinators skill to communicate their research and innovation to the media.

For these purposes, the core-activity was paralleled with the following tasks:

- analysis of the media coverage of SST topics which is intended to be consistent with the topics represented by the selected PRESS4TRANSPORT;
- identification of the main elements of strength as well as those of weakness in the present media coverage related to the aforementioned SST topics;
- guidelines and suggestions on how to communicate more effectively the SST project results through media.

Using the expertise of the PRESS4TRANSPORT consortium, consisting of journalists, scientists, online service providers and communication experts, PRESS4TRANSPORT intended to facilitate and improve the overall dissemination of sustainable transport research to the media and in turn towards the overall public.

The main service that PRESS4TRANSPORT offered was the VPO which is an online tool accessible to all transport projects (see http://www.press4transport.eu online), where their press releases could be posted, also in a draft format, since they would be further revised by professional journalists. The final version of press releases were sent out to journalists for publication on international, national, local and specialised press. The intention is to help the projects increase their presence and exposure on the national and international scene.

Project results:

With the duration of 24 months and 5 work packages, PRESS4TRANSPORT aimed to promote SST research results on a European, national and regional level by employing an innovative dissemination methodology with a new powerful tool capable of enhancing and maximising the media visibility of the SST results and products achieved and the research carried out.

The project run smoothly over the 2 years period and it ended up with lots of results, achievements and lessons learnt that will be described in the following pages.

The PRESS4TRANSPORT main service consisted in the creation, management, running and functioning of a Virtual Press Office dedicated to transport related project coordinators to help them create press releases dealing with their projects' results.

It follows a detailed description of the services offered by the consortium as a whole during the project.

The Virtual Press Office (available at http://www.press4transport.eu online) consisted of the public website / platform, the public website/platform, press release creation workflow management, relationships with journalists and media, scientific review, publication and distribution.

The PRESS4TRANSPORT platform was organised in two areas:

- information area which corresponded to the web portal open to the public;
- private area which corresponded to the platform accessible under registration.

At the beginning of the project, a content architecture for the Information area was developed and implemented, based on three main areas:

- project information (right menu);
- public area (left menu);
- working tools / newsletter box (registration box on the right).

The 'Project Information' menu item included general information about the project ('Project Info', 'Partners', 'Our services' sections), the consortium behind it and explanations on how to join it; it also contains some sections 'Our projects' and 'Press Page' specifically addressing participants and demonstrating not only that the number of projects already registered was always increasing but also explaining how it is important to give a journalistic point of view to each project to obtain more visibility. The 'Contact us' section offered information on how the staff could be directly contacted by projects or journalists which were interested in the initiative.

The 'Public Area' splits in five sections:

- 'press Releases', containing all the press releases already published;
- 'news' and 'Events' containing the archives of news and events which every day PRESS4TRANSPORT partners upload on the website to keep it constantly updated on major transports related matters;
- the 'Thematic Fiches' section, dedicated to the analysis made by the scientific partners on three different aspects of the transport field (urban, ITS and maritime transports). The works are easily downloadable from this page in a pdf format.

The 'Working Tools' area was conceived to be the way to interact with the website: for users to register to the Newsletter and for projects and PRESS4TRANSPORT partners to access to the Virtual Press Office by inserting a user name and a password. Here is also a page presenting the 'P4T News' Newsletter and where all the newsletters already issued are available to be downloaded in a pdf format.

The Virtual Press Office service represents the backbone of PRESS4TRANSPORT and its core objective, around which all the other activities have been implemented. The virtual press office offered a response to the main need of transport related projects, or so to say the capability to approach media with a professional outlook.

The Virtual Press Office is the service upon which the promotion and dissemination activities was focused: all other activities that have been implemented around this key factor are complementary and modular, so that PRESS4TRANSPORT participating projects were able to choose to benefit or not from them, but without excluding the chance for them to use only the basic press release editing service if they wished so.

The primary actors who accessed the portal were:

- projects that wanted to publish press releases about their activity;
- journalists who reviewed and modify the information of the project;
- scientific Validators which assured the text to be correct from the scientific point of view;
- chief editors who monitored the whole process;
- technical administrators (i.e. the project coordinator) who ensured the management of the platform.

All actors (projects, partners, validators) access varied content specified to their needs and each user had access to a personalised page after inserting a login and password.

The implementation of the Press Release elaboration was led by EJC and CYBION through the Virtual Press Office platform. The other partners equally participated in the service provision, giving their contribution at a different stage of the process, as explained below. In the first phase, a great effort has been put to involve as many target projects as possible in the platform. INOVA+ as well as the other partners have been fully involved in these activities of dissemination and awareness of the PRESS4TRANSPORT platform in order to get registered as many projects as possible.

The second step has been the uploading of news about the projects that have been registered in a previous phase. The kind of updated news is very important for successful elaboration of the Press Release: normally, the news updated is about projects results, relevant activities, important events, produced products or services launched by the project. The press release was then edited by EJC or CYBION. Following the need and the preferences expressed by the project responsible, P4T elaborated a press release in line with the information provided and in a catchy and friendly style. This step was performed using the platform for receiving the rough information and for eventual communication with the project responsible.

After the press release has been edited, a scientific validator accurately took care of checking the technical details of the press release. The scientific validation was done by the scientific partners, depending on the transport mode / sector the project recently released:

a. Maritime projects: the validation was up to MDCE.
b. Road, rail and freight related projects: the validation was up to BME.
c. Urban transport related projects: the validation was up to POMOS.

When the press release was validated by the scientific partner, it was sent to the project responsible to receive his final approval. In case the project responsible wasn't satisfied with the press release or he noticed any uncorrected information, the press release was sent back to EJC, CYBION or to the scientific partner. In this hypothesis, P4T reviewed the press release and sent it back again to the project responsible, asking for the definitive approval.

Direct help and support to participating projects has been provided through the PRESS4TRANSPORT contact email address info@press4tranport.eu managed by the coordinator, for problems concerning the use of the platform, for requests, suggestions, questions on PRESS4TRANSPORT in general. This email address functioned as a constant helpdesk with projects and as a communication tool to obtain from them such information as the ones to be uploaded on the 'Our Projects' page or to invite them to participate in the newsletter creation, and to give assistance during all the workflow phases, from registration to the press releases publication.

CYBION, as the coordinator, has been in charge to maintain contacts with the participating projects through the email address available as a reference on the PREES4TRANSPORT platform / website.

This tool has been useful to interact with projects in general but also with whoever was interested in PRESS4TRANSPORT and, on the other hand, helped CYBION, and the all consortium when needed, to promptly answer to users requests.

It follows a list of the most frequent activities undertaken by the project coordinator on behalf of the PRESS4TRANSPORT consortium and responding to the P4T contact email:

- help projects with registering, uploading material (i.e. how the same partner can register different projects, how to manage the press release and general requests concerning the functioning of the platform);
- alert project coordinators to give feedback to journalists concerning the press release created;
- uploading of news/event related to the project registered;
- newsletter subscription / newsletter related questions (how to register, past issues availability);
- general information on P4T and its services;
- request from P4T similar initiatives to participate to other events / campaign (twinning or sustainable energy Europe campaign);
- ask the projects coordinators for material to be inserted into the 'Our Projects' page;
- request for material to be published in the P4T Newsletter (to fill in the section focused on participating projects).

The direct contact with projects helped to understand better their need but also to outline some misunderstanding on the platform provided service and on communication activities in general from the projects side:

- sometimes they were not really aware of the difference (in terms of structure, content, aim) between press release vs article;
- most of projects had a really slow reaction in validating the proposed press release that, instead, need to be soon released to give the journalist a 'hot' material to publish.

Journalistic consulting can be considered as one of the most important PRESS4TRANSPORT added values and was provided mainly from the European Journalism Centre which was in charge for the creation of press releases and their distribution to the media. What has been stressed the attention on was the necessity of communicating as the best way to catch the attention of journalists and media. Suggestions were also given in term of what, where, when, how, communicate something.

At the end of the project, all the suggestions, information and help distributed over the 24 months were gathered into a summarising document titled 'Where Science and Media meet: from the lab to the street', which consisted in a bunch of communication guidelines addressed to project coordinators to provide them with simple and clear directions on how to best communicate their research and innovation to the media, whether general or specialised press.

What resulted as the most crucial points that need large attention when providing the service are:

- Journalists and media: nowadays journalists are overwhelmed with news coming from different sources; specialisation, focus and clearness are the main aspects that need to be considered when proposing an article the media. Direct contacts with journalists are essential to ensure a certain attention to the news proposed; continuous stimulation with direct contacts and workshops are useful to keep the level of attention high.
- Traditional towards online media: online media are gaining more and more attention nowadays, readership is high for both free and upon subscription online media; P4T has decided to increase, especially in the last months of the project, the participation of online media for several reasons. The most important aspect here is the fact that the publishing of online articles could be easily monitored with CYBION techniques; this allowed for a facilitated follow up of the media promotion plan and actions and a more direct feedback to the projects that strive to be present on the media.

Scientific and more focused consultancy has been provided by scientific partners. In particular, they were responsible for reviewing the draft press releases on the platform and participating in the process by giving suggestions on the treated topics and providing the press releases with a consistency check.

Thematic analysis fiches have been one of the major outcomes of the project as they analysed various selected transport themes and some of the regional and national projects that have participated to PRESS4TRANSPORT. A total of 8 fiches has been realised during the project lifetime through the cooperation of the scientific partners, for the analytic part and CYBION expertise for the graphical arrangements and partners coordination.

In the thematic analysis fiches the various selected transport themes and the regional and national projects that have participated to PRESS4TRANSPORT are being analysed. They are produced as a result of summarising the key trends of these projects and make comparisons among their research results.

CYBION was responsible of creating the graphic layout for the documents and distributed it among the partners to have their feedback on it before the online publication. CYBION has also updated the 'Thematic Fiches' dedicated page on the website and on the issuu.com channel where it is possible to read and easily download all of them in the web magazine format.

Increasing the visibility of the participating projects on the online and traditional media has been the core activity and objective of the PRESS4TRANSPORT initiative. This has been possible thanks to the creation of variegated dissemination material (the information package, informative brochures, a catchy roll out) and the use of innovative web tools and web 2.0 tools which enable information to circulate and be available online.

The online tools used by PRESS4TRANSPORT consortium have been mainly:

- PRESS4TRANSPORT web platform.
- PRESS4TRANSPORT Twitter account (http://twitter.com/press4transport).
- PRESS4TRANSPORT Issuu account (http://issuu.com/press4transport).
- P4TNews, the PRESS4TRANSPORT Newsletter.
- Search engine optimisation.
- Google advertising campaign.
- Dedicated space on partners' company website.

Moreover, targeted dissemination activities (participation to the most relevant European transport related events, sending of informative customised emails, contacts with journalists and stakeholders) have been carried out to assure the project a diffusion as much wide as possible.

Very much effort has been put by the consortium to provide the described services and to tackle all the difficulties that have been registered during the project's lifetime. The majority of these difficulties came from the participating projects' side.

One of the main problems encountered was their lack of interest, especially from national and regional projects (whilst the European showed much more enthusiasm to the PRESS4TRANSPORT initiative). This especially is due to the fact that the majority of national and regional projects are not requested to perform dissemination tasks in their work packages and are (wrongly) convinced that disseminating and communicating their results is just loosing time.

Even if the bigger part of registered projects in PRESS4TRANSPORT is made of European projects, a good number has been registered and this can be considered as a success by itself for the entire consortium.

Being such projects (nationals/regionals) not used to dissemination and communication activities (which are characterised by fast and smooth exchange flows of information) PRESS4TRANSPORT platform suffered of their inactivity and / or low feedback to requests for feedback from the platform managers. This 'slow reaction' approach (registered in some cases also for European projects) made sometimes the platform workflow really slow and not aligned with the journalistic times ('news' must be hot to stimulate the journalist appetite and be transformed into an article).

On the other hand, not only news has to be 'fresh' but has to contain something really attractive for stimulating a journalist to write about it. In many cases, the material provided by the projects was not updated or too inconsistent to create something about and further adjustments had to be made before having any results in terms of press releases.

Finally, the language problem has been a very big issue throughout the project duration. Local projects preferred to use their own language, both to update the material and for the final press release and this constituted the main constraint for the involvement of regional projects in PRESS4TRANSPORT.

The PRESS4TRANSPORT consortium has been thus really active in convincing projects to participate in the initiative, in particular stressing the attention on:

- the importance of communication activities in order to give visibility to projects' results and to contribute to a wider dissemination of the achievements of the project;
- think to their results in a concrete and 'commercial' way, as a real product to be advertised all over the media world.

Moreover, PRESS4TRANSPORT team, considering the fact that dissemination is not a task in many European Union (EU) projects, worked hard to bypass those this kind of obstacles: for example, some of the press releases were translated into national languages and a more targeted media list has been created to meet the projects' communication needs and, at the same time, the journalists continuous research of news to be published.

In terms of results, all the activities performed by the consortium led to:

- 117 registered projects: they have been active uploading material, editing press releases, contributing to the newsletters, updating news and events on the portal, participating to the events and enriching PRESS4TRANSPORT with their contributions. A detailed overview and analysis of the participating projects has been carried out by INOVAMAIS and, according to this, projects can be categorised into the following macro-themes:

- electric vehicle technology;
- freight / logistics transport;
- Intelligent transport systems (ITS);
- transport and education;
- transport and environment aspects;
- transport management;
- transport related with Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)s;
- transport, research and innovation;
- urban transport.

In terms of mode of transport, the 117 projects are distributed amongst 4 types: road, rail, maritime, intermodal and air: the majority of the projects belong to the road transport, but also the maritime and the intermodal sector are quite well represented.

An important consideration should be highlighted regarding the air sector: following the technical annex, PRESS4TRANSPORT should focus just on the surface transport that will exclude the air sector. Of course, since the aim of the project is supporting the dissemination of transport research results, the consortium agreed to include a minor number of air projects since these projects demonstrated interest in the platforms' services.

Moreover, the two projects belonging to the air sector have been considered important and relevant since they are developing technologies that could be related to road transport (i.e. one of the air sector projects deals with the research results on the cock-pit technology which could be easily applied to the car or automotive sector).

As far as funding programmes are concerned, it is possible to highlight the fact that the majority of the projects is funded under European programmes: in particular, 74 projects have been funded by European programmes while 42 came from national funds.

Concerning the distribution of projects generally funded by European funding programmes, 41 projects are funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), 8 under FP6, 6 by the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE), 6 by the European regional development funds (ERDF). A minor number of projects came from some specific directorate-general (DG)s of the European Commission (DG 'Enterprise' and DG 'Move') or from other European research and development (R&D) programme, as the European cooperation in science and technology (COST), central Europe programme, Lifelong learning programme (LLP) and EU public health programme. Also national funds have been important: as revealed by the geographical distribution, a relevant number of national projects come from the following countries: Italy, Hungary, Portugal and Denmark, where PRESS4TRANSPORT partners were locally present.

- 80 press releases published on PRESS4TRANSPORT website and distributed to the media list;
- more than 60 articles published mainly on online media;
- creation of a newsletter mailing list constituted by 600 contacts;
- 3 600 newsletters distributed (6 issues created and sent to the distribution list).

According to the description of work, 'P4TNews', the newsletter of the PRESS4TRANSPORT project, has been developed and distributed three times during the first reporting period and three more during the second one (once every 4 months for a total of 6 newsletters in 24 months) and contained the results and activities that were being performed and achieved within PRESS4TRANSPORT.

To be environmentally safe, it was sent by email and made available on the PRESS4TRANSPORT website section in a pdf format, thus being also downloadable, and on the PRESS4TRANSPORT issuu channel.

The newsletter is composed of different sections around which the content of each issue is structured: therefore not all sections are present in every issue of the newsletter.

The Newsletter editorial board (NEB) decided which to include each time.

The newsletter sticks the graphical layout used for the project website / dissemination material.

The NEB had the following main tasks:

- create and manage the editorial planning of the newsletter;
- take decisions on its content and data gathering.

It consisted of representatives of the following consortium members:

- CYBION (board leader).
- CLEPA.
- INOVAMAIS.
- EJC.
- 1 Scientific Partner per Issue (rotating according to the newsletter focus).

The NEB worked together to ensure the journalistic quality of the newsletter and tailoring it to the audiences serviced. The NEB also set out the strategies to deploy to collect information (roaming, web search, sourcing from other networks and programmes) and on which topics (suggesting relevant subjects to be covered in the newsletter and eventually developing thematic issues in function of 'what's hot in SST'). The Board has constantly been in contact (by email and physically at consortium meeting) to define the focus and structure of the following newsletter and assigned responsibilities among partners for each section content redaction. The coordinator checked that timing was respected, while EJC had control over the quality of the content produced and its correspondence to journalistic trends.

- Participation to 2 International events (TRA 2010 and SEETRANS 2011)

The biannual TRA (Transport Research Arena) conference was held as TRA 2010 between June 7th and June 10th at the SQUARE Brussels Meeting Centre.

The event had attracted more than 600 participants from various groups of stakeholders and contained 60 sessions and other activities during the very busy four days of the conference. The special seminars devoted to specific activities in the transport research area were welcome additions to the plenary, strategic, thematic and poster sessions meticulously planned by the TRA 2010 Programme Committee.

The event also gave possibilities for the participants to visit the Exhibition Area, where more than 40 booths were manned by specialists informing the visitors about on-going projects, inventions and developments in the transport research area.

The largest booth in the Exhibition Area was organised by the European Commission in order to inform the visitors about on-going transport research projects supported by The Commission.

A number of EU supported FP7 projects were presented to a large number of visiting stakeholders and the project officers from the responsible DGs made frequent visits in the booths to answer questions from the visitors.

The PRESS4TRANSPORT project was exhibited in the booth organised by the European Commission dedicated to FP7 projects of major importance for the developments within the transport area.

A number of visitors, mainly from the industrial area, paid visits to the information booth devoted to the PRESS4TRANSPORT project. The possibilities to have press releases covering mainly nationally and regionally funded projects were in most cases very well received. This possibility is the major sales argument for entering the project as a subscriber to the services offered.

The information conveyed through the discussions with visiting stakeholders to the PRESS4TRANSPORT booth in the TRA10 exhibition area was completed with a visual and verbal presentation made during the third day of the conference. This presentation was given during the extra seminar 'Accessing transport research information', which was organised by the transport research knowledge centre.

During the second year, PRESS4TRANSPORT participated to the SEETRANS 2011, transport research opportunities for southeastern Europe in the EU, held in Ljubljana on 12-13 April 2011, arranged by European transport NCP Alliance (ETNA) (an organisation for the national contact points for transport), Ministry of Transport in Slovenia and The Maribor University in Slovenia, and with the presence of projects, personalities and stakeholders of the transport sector. In occasion of the event, local partners were deeply involved and gave high visibility to the project.

PRESS4TRANSPORT representatives circulated amongst participants showing them the Virtual Press Office initiative which has been positively welcomed by everybody. PRESS4TRANSPORT leaflets have been widely distributed while a presentation of the project was continuously showed on a widescreen.

During the fourth ETNA forum meeting, Bjoern Hedlund, in charge for PRESS4TRANSPORT Dissemination performed a presentation on PRESS4TRANSPORT consisting of a detailed description of the project, its activities and results and it followed a q&a session with the participants which showed interest and appreciation to the project.

Moreover, PRESS4TRANSPORT has been one of the projects participating at the extra session 'Accessing transport research information', on day two of the event, whose aim was to identify improvements in accessing transport research information for the benefit of end users and during which representatives from several different databases had the opportunity to present their portals.

CLEPA representative, supported by the presence of the project coordinator, participated to this session by showing to the audience the main functionalities, objectives and achievements of PRESS4TRANSPORT giving priority to the strongest points of the project.

- Production and publication of 8 thematic fiches with thematic focus and comparison of selected participating projects

Thematic fiches have been created in two different batches during the project lifetime: 4 at M10 and 4 more at M22.

On M10, four thematic analysis fiches have been created and published on the PRESS4TRANSPORT website.

The main themes of the fiches were allocated to the scientific partners during the Budapest consortium meeting and all the partners agreed on this selection:

- 1 analysis concerning maritime sector;
- 1 analysis concerning urban sector;
- 2 analysis concerning ITS sector.

The result has been the creation of the following thematic analysis fiches: 'Congestion charging - tested methodologies and results from Europe' (urban sector). This Fiche dealt with the different transport policy measures that have been developed throughout the years to cope with the problems transport is facing in the EU. Countries in the EU address these issues differently, using different measures and BME compared two different cases, London and Stockholm.

'Maritime transport' (Maritime sector): In its fiches, MDCE focused on EU level policy for maritime transport taking into consideration not only the research context and programmes but also comparing two different case studies on the theme.

- 'ITS - Focus on automatic vehicle location and monitoring systems' (ITS sector): This thematic fiche focused on automatic vehicle location and monitoring systems. Main characteristics and policy background for ITS has been analysed and two examples of low budget research projects developed at regional level and selected among the projects registered on the PRESS4TRANSPORT platform have been compared and presented.

- 'ITS - Sustainable mobility pilot research projects in touristic areas' (ITS sector): The second thematic fiches from POMOS gave general overview on the thematic of urban and sustainable mobility and on the related EU policies and research programmes focusing on Sustainable mobility in urban and touristic areas. The activities of two projects developed in Italy and selected among the projects registered on the PRESS4TRANSPORT platform have been presented and compared.

On M22, four new thematic analysis fiches have been created and published on the PRESS4TRANSPORT website.

This time, the main themes of the Fiches were allocated to the scientific partners during the Copenhagen consortium meeting and all the partners agreed on this selection:

- 1 analysis concerning maritime transport sector;
- 2 analysis concerning urban sector;
- 1 analysis concerning sustainable transport systems sector.

The result has been the creation of the following thematic analysis fiches second batch:

- 'Education and competence development in a maritime EU' (Maritime sector): The fiche focused on maritime education and competence development which is part and parcel of a company's human resource management strategy and an area that is in great need of attention, in order to retain and develop competences in a maritime EU and maintain a competitive position in the global market.

- 'High-speed rail - tested methodologies and results from Europe' (Urban sector): This thematic fiche from BME aimed at giving an overall view of high-speed rail in Europe. It investigated the policy background of this mode of transport and shows how the high-speed rail became integrated and non-negligible part of the European policies.

- 'Possibilities of intermodality in passenger transport - Tested Methodologies and Results from Europe' (urban sector); the second thematic fiche from BME dealt with intermodal passenger transport putting emphasis on intermodal nodes, which are the places for changing from one transport mode to another.

- 'Hybrid and electric propulsion - national R&D projects' (SST sector): The fiche focused on hybrid and electric propulsion systems and illustrated the main characteristics of these technologies giving a general overview on the state of the art and giving the main policy and research background in the field. The fiche analysed and compared the results of two high-budget R&D projects developed at national level and selected amongst the projects registered on the PRESS4TRANSPORT platform.

- Communication guidelines

The communication guidelines 'Where science and media meet: from the lab to the street', produced by the collaboration of the European Journalism Centre (EJC) and CYBION, aimed to provide project coordinators with simple and clear directions on how to best communicate their research and innovation to the media, whether general or specialised press. The creation of the guidelines was based on the following aspects:

- the results of the media coverage analysis performed over a four-month period (March - June 2011);
- the long term experience of the EJC and sector literature;
- the experience gained during PRESS4TRANSPORT project lifecycle.

The main idea behind this document is that, whether you are managing a research and innovation project in the SST field at a national or at a European level, and especially if you are a small or medium enterprise, you need to effectively communicate your results to a wider audience. This guide offers a number of ways to help maximise efforts by writing and sending press releases, with a focus on both traditional as well as online media.

Highlighting specific projects which demonstrate the future of mobility and the potential benefits to our increasingly knowledge-based society will raise awareness in others that the grass is greener next door. This will in turn encourage others, and especially decision-makers concerned with transport policies, to spring into action and help Europe's transport sector to enter the future.

This approach is based on the conviction that local and regional SST projects impact upon the life of EU citizens. These projects therefore ought to have greater exposure and awareness in the pages of national and local media, reaching both the general public and specialised press, as well as beyond including Web 2.0.

In any case, when one tries to communicate results to the media, he will have to pay attention to two external factors. First, the reluctance of newspaper editors to engage in subjects considered too far removed from the everyday life of their readers. And secondly, that he is competing with companies and other relevant topics to occupy the ever limited space in major media.

Hence the importance of convincing an editor to publish an SST related story from a Virtual Press Office.

Everyone needs to always keep in mind that when information passes from the laboratory, where research takes place, to the media and onto the street, a necessary step must be taken to transform technical information into practical and manageable texts.

This guide will demonstrate how it is possible best communicate to the media the results of research projects.

The major output of the document is a series of suggestions (do's&dont's)that might assist the project coordinators in order to better communicate their project and the results of their work to the media and to increase their success rate, i.e. the possibility to have their articles published in the targeted media.

What is particularly highlighted by these number is the fact that, first of all, what the projects have gained from their participation in PRESS4TRANPORT is a very high level of visibility, in particular on the internet but also through offline contacts, mainly:

- with the participation to almost 50 transport related events all over Europe;
- phone calls towards stakeholders;
- one to one ad hoc meeting.

Not only: much more dissemination to the projects has been given through the use of innovative Web 2.0 tools:

- A dedicated Issuu account (http://issuu.com/press4transport) - Issuu is an innovative tool allowing the user-generated content to be published in an appealing digital media format. More specifically Issuu is an online service that allows for realistic and customisable viewing of digitally uploaded material, such as portfolios, books, magazine issues, newspapers, and other print media. Uploaded print material is viewed through a web browser and is made to look like a printed publication with an animated page flip options. The dissemination strategy choice is explained by the relevant visibility of the tool, which provided PRESS4TRANSPORT related publications with an high exposure potential with its 33 millions of readers worldwide, 48 % in Europe and with its 2.4 billion of monthly impressions.

- A PRESS4TRANSORT Twitter account (http://twitter.com/press4transport) giving up-to-date information on the project activity. Twitter is a website, owned and operated by Twitter Inc., which offers a social networking and micro blogging service, enabling its users to send and read messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based of up to 140 characters displayed on the user's profile page.

Since its launch on March, 2006, Twitter has gained popularity worldwide and is estimated to have 200 million users, generating 190 million tweets a day and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day.

Twitter has been chosen for its 'business-oriented' nature especially if compared to Facebook (the most popular social network): Twitter short and text-based messages are more effective for the rapid circulation of ideas among business communities.

- Search engine optimisation of the websites with first positions ranking for the following combination of keywords: 'press AND transport'. This action allowed having the website pages well ranked without paying any fee.

- 400 pages registered to Google - the Google AdWords campaign enabled the display of PRESS4TRANSPORT ads on Google and its advertising network for selected keywords.

The final goal has been a stability of the average visits per month of 500.

Finally, during the second half of the project's lifetime, the consortium has also kept going with sending direct and customised emails and building synergies with third parties existing tools:

- Ufficio Progetti Comunitari : The University of Rome - Roma Tre - has a well established office - Ufficio Progetti Comunitari (UPC) - coordinating all the activities related to the participation and the management of all the EC funded research and innovation and/or technical support projects of the University.
- UNIMED: Mediterranean Universities Union is an Association of Universities from countries in the Euro-Mediterranean basin. UNIMED established a series of thematic sub-networks, to encourage scientific cooperation in specific fields. One sub-network is dedicated to transports, logistics and multimodality.
- INSME - International network of SMEs contact database.

Potential impact:

Apart for its tangible results (number of projects, press releases, articles). PRESS4TRANSPORT has been really successful in terms of audience and public reached by using all the tools at the consortium disposal.

As a matter of fact, the audience reached, especially by the web 2.0 tools, is quite wide and a list divided per used tool can be here provided:

- general online public: attracted by the web portal, the Issuu account, the Twitter account;
- transport related public: encountered at events and attracted by the targeted Google ad campaign;
- European Commission network;
- PRESS4TRANPORT's partners networks;
- participating projects and their networks;
- P4T Newsletter mailing list contacts.

A dedicated campaign was also conducted to arise the interest of external stakeholders (mainly coming from consortium networks and further research). More than 1 000 customised emails have been issued and differentiated for stakeholders type:

- Projects coordinators and aggregators (agency for funding and institutions / policy makers, other Initiatives having an interest in the transport topic, such as national platforms, association or federations of companies / universities and foundations, technology parks, chambers of commerce and other type of Intermediaries).
- Communication players, such as single companies or centres potentially involved in transport projects, entities interested in giving visibility to SST topics, foundations, associations or organisations targeted at awareness raising on the topics of transport and environment, online communities or blogs interested in discussing the topics, Media companies.
- EC and personal references.

Usually, the emails were written in a direct and punchy style and with a concrete approach to better explain the core activity and objectives of the project. The emails were usually followed by a phone call to have some feedback when the issue was still hot. An average of 250 phone calls between first contact and follow-up have been performed.

In particular, the following centres resulted to be very useful in terms of reached audience and dissemination width:

- The international network SMEs. INSME is a non-profit association whose aim is to stimulate transnational cooperation and public and private partnership in the field of innovation and technology transfer to SMEs.

Contacted by the coordinator, it was decided to send an email to all possible members matching profiles via the INSME alert system. This action resulted in the publication of the news dedicated to PRESS4TRANSPORT in the INSME alert and the disclosing of the news to the network members matching with the profile.

- UNIMED: the news dedicated to PRESS4TRANSPORT was published in the 'Website News Section' and 'related Newsletter'. It was disclosed to the sub-network members (30 universities from different EU countries) and to other potential visitors of the website. 357 visitors were interested in the news.

- UPC: the news dedicated to PRESS4TRANSPORT was published in UPC Bulletin, issue of 7 March 2011. The bulletin reaches almost 75 contacts including professors and departments involved in R&D and innovation projects also from the transport field.

The PRESS4TRANSPORT general dissemination activity also resulted in the communication of the initiative to partners networks and websites (by a dedicated space on their company's website).

- PRESS4TRANSPORT website: The public website has been regarded as a major dissemination tool for the project, as in many cases it represented the first ever point of contact with potential users, related projects and other diverse actors who might be interested in the PRESS4TRANSPORT activities.

Other activities related to the Website

- Design and implementation of the 'Highlights' box. Just below the 'Working Tools' area, a 'Highlights' box has been added during the course of the project to be like a direct communication channel with website users to inform them on latest PRESS4TRANSPORT results and achievements or to provide the general public with interesting articles or news.

- Website update: 'news', 'events' 'press releases' and 'our projects' sections.

- ETNA newsletters publishing articles concerning P4T initiative. ETNA aims at the development and implementation of a coordination mechanism for stimulating closer cooperation amongst National contact point (NCP) for the theme 'Transport' in the FP7. NCPs play a crucial role in the FP as providers of information and assistance to potential participants (applicants) of new projects and contractors in on-going projects and therefore they are particularly important for PRESS4TRANSPORT. INOVAMAIS, together with CYBION and EJC, provided all the information to the ETNA NEB through the collaboration with the Italian NCP and two articles were published.

- Sustainable Energy Week. PRESS4TRANSPORT has been asked to participate to the selection to become an Official Partner of Sustainable Energy Europe, a European Commission initiative in the framework of the IEE programme, which contributes to achieve the EU's 2020 energy policy targets within the fields of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, clean transport and alternative fuels. PRESS4TRANSPORT has been one of the candidate projects.

- ISSUU: Issuu is an innovative Web 2.0 tool allowing the user-generated content to be published in an appealing digital media format.

- PRESS4TRANSPORT Twitter account.

The presence of PRESS4TRANSPORT on the search engines was reinforced by both:

- the refreshment of the Search Engine Optimisation;
- the Google AdWords campaign.

The search engine optimisation consisted in making the single pages attractive for the main search engines namely Google, Yahoo and Bing, in order to have the website pages well ranked without paying any fee - the so called 'organic' or 'algorithmic' search results. Though with some differences in their specific approaches, the search engines will be ranking better those websites that are well architecture, that are not totally in flash, whose contents are consistent with those reported in the Hypertext markup language (HTML) of the page inside the related algorithms, or METATAG (i.e. description, keywords and title), whose content present a good rate of density for the keywords (high presence in the content of the page of the keywords chosen and inserted in the specific HTML TAG). In this context the choice of the appropriate keywords would be crucial.

During the second year of the project, the website optimisation was refreshed by the inclusion of new keywords based on the potential target users searches and elimination of some unproductive one.

The added keywords were the following: press transport, press transport online, press office, online press releases, web press releases.

Moreover, during the second reporting period it was decided to increase the visibility of the PRESS4TRANSPORT initiative by the design and implementation of a dedicated advertising campaign on the search engines.

The objective was to increase the visibility of PRESS4TRANSPORT when a user was searching for similar initiatives on the web.

The tool chosen for the online campaign was Google AdWords since it was estimated as the most effective one for optimising the time and resources.

Google AdWords is a tool provided by Google that enabled the display of PRESS4TRANSPORT ads on Google and its advertising network when the web surfers search for keywords related to the initiatives. The campaign success in terms of ranking/visibility depends not only on the budget but also on the efficiency of the keywords chosen in terms of: appropriateness to the sponsored initiative, consistency with the web surfer search needs and level of competition on the selected keywords.

The activities carried out were the following:

1. Configuration of the tool by means of:

- Choice of keywords, i.e. words and phrases related to PRESS4TRANSPORT. The criteria for the choice were those described in the paragraph above. The keywords/phrases selected were the following:

i. virtual press office;
i. online press releases;
ii. online press office;
iii. press releases on transport;
iv. creation online press release;
v. how to write press release;
vi. press release for projects;
vii. maritime projects press releases;
viii. support project dissemination;
ix. road projects press releases;
x. rail projects press releases;
xi. intemodal projects press releases;
xii. urban projects press releases.

- Creation of the adv claim, which is the catchy phrase (no more than 50 characters allowed) appearing next to the PRESS4TRANSPORT link in the results list. The claim has an important role since it should communicate to the web surfer that the results is consistent with the target of the research and should attract he/she to click on the link. The phrase created is the following: 'The Free Virtual Press Office for EU SST'.
- Definition of the maximum budget and payment method.

2. Monitoring of the visibility on the basis of the selected keywords and phrases.

Results:

- 'news' section enriched with a total of 140 items;
- 'events' section enriched with a total of 135 items;
- 'press releases' enriched with total of 80 items;
- 'our projects' section enriched with a total of 79 projects;
- 'Highlights' box implemented and updated with news about the project progresses and status;
- Stability of the average visits per month: 500.

Finally, the project has benefited from the positive remarks of European websites (just few examples):

- Eltis - European portal on urban transport and mobility: http://www.eltis.org/show_news.phtml?newsid=1766&mainID=461
- Tubitak - Scientific and Technological research Council of Turkey: http://www.fp7.org.tr/home.do?ot=5&rt=1&sid=3266&pid=0&cid=17629
- Transport Info - Today transports' info from UK, handpicked for you each morning: http://www.transportinfo.org.uk/cgi-bin/cti_search.pl
- Logis-top - Plataforma Tecnológica en Logística Integral, Intermodalidad y Movilidad: http://www.logistop.com/transferencia-idi/base-de-datos-de-proyectos?sobi2Task=sobi2Details&catid=2&sobi2Id=234258

The final results of the promotional activities were:

- 400 pages registered to Google;
- first positions ranking for the following combination of keywords: 'press AND transport';
- high visibility of PRESS4TRANSPORT initiative in Google advertised results.

Along with the above described dissmeniation activities, PRESS4TRANSPORT enjoyed also of:

Quotations and references within scientific publications

- PRESS4TRANSPORT was presented by POMOS to the 4th IEEE international conference on computer science and information technology, Chengu China 10-12 June. A paper was written and published on the proceedings of the conference, Volume 9, pp. 403-407, June 2011. The title of the paper is 'Adding ICT to transportation systems: monitoring and management system for the electric vehicle fleet on the island of Ventotene', G. Fabbri, C. Boccaletti, L. Anniballi, M. London, F. Calenne, F. M. F. Mascioli, A. J. Marques Cardoso.

- Advertising on sectoral magazine:

- Danish MARITIME MAGAZINE, issue 1 / 2010.
- HAVNE & SKIBSFART 2010.
- MERCATOR maritime innovation, research and education September 2010.

TV specials:

- 2 hours documentary on air on the channel RAI STORIA on the 23rd of June and on the 25th of June, within the television programme named DIXIT Scienza: a workshop on sustainable mobility has been organised and the project has been presented by POMOS during the workshop on 21 June. A 20-hour documentary about the workshop has been realised and shown by the Italian Channel RAI STORIA.
- Video within the television programme named GEo&GEO on the national Italian channel RAI3: POMOS presented PRESS4TRANSPORT initiative.

Interview for contribution to public service review - transport by PS Publication Service Co. UK:

- The publications focus on every aspect of the transport industry and its relationship with the public sector. CYBION was interviewed by PS Publication Service Co. UK for potentially contributing to the next issue providing the outcomes of PRESS4TRANSPORT experience in terms of projects' capability to disseminate results to the public.

A complete and detailed description of the dissemination strategy adopted and the activities performed has been provided in D5.5 'Dissemination activities report'.

Results

The dissemination strategy implemented during throughout the project was successful. Though it is difficult to measure the results of the activities performed which is a weakness common to many communication activities, the dissemination strategy implemented for PRESS4TRANSPORT can be measured also in terms of planned targets reached. It is possible to state that by means of the implemented activities the PRESS4TRANSPORT measurable targets in terms of projects registered, press releases issued and articles published were fully reached.

A less measurable but relevant result was the visibility of PRESS4TRANSPORT on different media types, including not only the 'traditional' such as institutional websites, printed media, scientific publications and teelvision but also new media such as Web 2.0 sources, where the brand initiative enjoyed a potential exposure to millions of users worldwide.

Project website: http://www.press4transport.eu