Keen Independent Research
Phone: (303) 3858515
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172 N. Washington Street
Wickenburg , AZ 85390
100 Fillmore Street, 5th Floor
Denver , CO 80206

Mobility and Transportation

Mobility and Transportation

Keen Independent helps a range of clients develop and improve their strategies for moving people and goods, quickly and safely. We provide examples of these client relationships below.

Moving “your stuff yourself.” Nearly 15 million U.S. households move each year. A fraction rent trucks for their moves. Why do customers rent trucks to move? Who are the best prospects? How can we get them to consider our client for their move? And, what types of firms are our best commercial customers? How do we get more of them to choose our client over its competitors?

In addition, any company providing services to businesses and consumers through a national dealer network faces issues of:

  • Where do we put new dealers?
  • Who do we recruit as dealers?
  • Why are some dealers successful while others are not? How do we help them market?

David Keen and Annette Humm Keen led a team working with Budget Truck Rental over a number of years to improve the answers they had to these questions, and develop new marketing and dealer management tools. We analyzed past Budget transaction data, compiled Census data and other secondary information, surveyed current and potential customers, and held focus groups with customers and dealers. We were also part of the team that directly marketed to potential customers. Our efforts led to striking insights; for example, the company was perceived to be the “white guy’s truck rental company.” We worked closely with marketing staff, senior management, and Budget’s marketing firm to develop and execute new branding, pricing and marketing strategies. We helped to develop processes to improve dealer performance and find attractive locations for new dealers.

In the words of our client, “We ask them the most difficult questions and they quickly return with specific strategies and tools.” – Marketing Director, Budget Truck Rental

Safer driving. David Keen has worked with a number of clients to improve driver and passenger safety. These efforts have required in-depth analysis of American’s attachments to cars and trucks, even before they learn to drive. He has segmented drivers to identify those most at risk of crashes and designed and helped to execute traffic safety campaigns targeting those groups. Mr. Keen was one of the first to geographically match data on drivers who crash against economic/lifestyle clusters, and then design marketing programs based on this information. Mr. Keen has also carefully tracked traffic safety statistics to measure the impact of new policies and programs.

One example is the Montezuma County Clicks! campaign. David Keen worked closely with the Colorado Department of Transportation and a local community coalition to design, implement and evaluate a campaign to encourage seat belt use in rural Montezuma County, Colorado. A critical finding of his research was that locals would not accept any campaign bearing the stamp of CDOT or the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) — it had to be locally-driven. Mr. Keen led a team that developed the Montezuma County Clicks! marketing campaign, using a broad range of communications strategies. The campaign generated extensive support from local businesses and media. For example, local residents were featured in radio and community newspaper ads that told their personal seat belt stories. As a result of the campaign, seat belt use in Montezuma County increased from 39 percent to 61 percent. After four years of federal support, the campaign became self-sustaining.

Other examples of Mr. Keen’s successes include:

  • Work with the Latino community in Pueblo that led to design and launch of the very successful DUI: The $8,866 Hangover campaign.
  • Research that led to passage and successful implementation of graduated licensing law that changed how teens learn to drive and obtain a driver’s license in Colorado. (Mr. Keen explored the pre-driving relationship with cars and trucks with teens and their parents as part of this assignment.)
  • Work with the State Patrol in Minnesota to combat drinking and driving in the state.

Mobility = freedom, and a new mission for a large organization. A decade ago, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) was in a defensive position, apologizing for what it believed were widespread perceptions of its inefficiency and ineffectiveness. To more accurately gauge true awareness and attitudes across its constituencies, and develop a plan for changing its image, Caltrans asked Dave Keen to conduct one of the largest customer feedback assignments undertaken by any public agency in the country.

Mr. Keen used the research opportunity to broadly explore attitudes about mobility among adults, children and businesses across the state. Groups were asked to paint their ideal future (literally in the focus groups with children), not to accept current conditions. Simply put, Mr. Keen found that California residents and business owners were looking to get from Point A to Point B, safely and reliably, in order to work, play and raise a family. Rather than being seen as an obstruction, customers viewed Caltrans as the only agency that had the technical ability and reach that could lead fractious state and local agencies toward a more sensible future.

Dave Keen explained to Caltrans how this information fundamentally changed how the Department should see itself and craft its strategies. Caltrans has begun to deliver on “mobility,” not just maintaining highways. (Caltrans’ new mission is to “improve mobility across California” and its messaging includes “We’re here to get you there!”

Mr. Keen worked directly with Caltrans leadership to help communicate this change in mission across the organization. (Mr. Keen still works closely with Caltrans leadership on other issues.)

When is “not moving” an issue, and how to address it. As part of the Colorado Convention Center’s and the City and County of Denver’s green movement, Annette Humm Keen led a study analyzing driver and vehicle behaviors through site observations of stationary vehicles, particularly those idling, in Denver’s downtown. Her pre-campaign site observations and research with drivers and local law enforcement led to recommendations for increasing awareness of the City’s 10-minute idling ordinance, motivating driver compliance and developing “top-down” and “bottom-up” communications for a new, vehicle-idling-reduction campaign Engines Off! Denver.

After the launch of Engines Off!, Annette Humm Keen demonstrated that vehicle idling in the study area dropped by nearly 50 percent. Results also showed a substantial drop in the relative number of vehicles idling more than 10 minutes (40% pre-campaign and 9% post-campaign). The campaign’s success eventually led to a more restrictive citywide 5-minute vehicle idling ordinance.

Vehicle sales. David Keen worked with a communications company to explore opportunities for new information services serving potential buyers of new and used vehicles.

For many years, David Keen and Annette Humm Keen helped the New York International Auto Show understand show visitors. As a part of this research, the study team conducted intercept interviews and online surveys with thousands of visitors as well as analysis of data from vehicle exhibitors.

Other examples. Other work David and Annette Keen have performed in transportation and mobility has led to:

  • Design of new commuting options;
  • Better marketing of public transportation;
  • More sensible taxation and environmental regulation of trucks and the trucking industry;
  • Better communication of the benefits from investments in transportation; and
  • More corporate support of work schedules that reduces peak-time commuting.