Visualizations help stakeholders understand complex issues

Seeing is believing.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

All true when it comes to helping stakeholders and potential coalition members, allies and partners understand the importance of a complex issue.

Here’s a good example.  As the Missouri Dept. of Transportation wrestles with how to rejuvenate Interstate 70, it found that its efforts to keep traffic moving smoothly on America’s Main Street complicated its communication about the dire state of the highway. 

Specifically, resurfacing in recent years had smoothed the ride enough to hide the structural issues underlying the highway – and perhaps mute public interest in fixing the long-term problems with the Interstate. 

So MoDOT developed a clever simulation that enables stakeholders to see how pavement begins decaying almost as soon as it is poured and, more importantly, how there are limits to how many times you can replace existing pavement.

They made an interesting – and thoroughly understandable – visual that helps their audiences get a better grip on an important technical issue:

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