Phoenix Prevents Loss of Transit Funding


The Opportunity: Develop insights and identify key audiences for Valley Metro to present targeted educational messaging, preventing misinformation that could block future investments in light rail.


Valley Metro’s South Central Extension was designed to add 4.9 miles of new light rail service, 7 stations, and a new downtown hub. The project was in final planning stages when Valley Metro met opposition from local groups on the reduction of general purpose lanes to make way for light rail.

A citizen-backed measure “Prop 105” was placed on the ballot, which would have prevented Valley Metro from making future investments in its light rail system. A non-local, national political group funded a mass media campaign to support Prop 105 in an attempt to prevent the extension.

Key Elements

  • Track messages and audiences targeted by opponent groups to know their impact.
  • Create “neighborhood audiences” to prevent the spread of misinformation and educate on the benefits of light rail investments.
  • Measure sentiment to demonstrate that loud messages don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of large audiences.

Understanding The Opposition

Working closely with the team at Valley Metro, AlphaVu researched the opposition’s paid media campaign to understand the audiences being targeted and the messages they were using to shape public opinion.

A major function of a transit agency is community engagement and education, and the opposition had outmatched the agency in advertising. Misinformation about the expansion was spreading fast. Valley Metro needed a measured response that provided the facts to targeted audiences in a cost-efficient way to maintain its reputation as a good steward of public resources.

Insights to Deliver the Right Message to the Right Audience

AlphaVu created lists of different audiences to ensure residents who were being shown misinformation saw Valley Metro’s messaging at higher rates. AlphaVu also helped Valley Metro understand which messages resonated more with their community so that they could adapt their messaging strategy and communicate more effectively.

This insight led Valley Metro to create videos, social media, and community engagement materials which showed they understood the needs of their community and reflected their values.

AlphaVu’s real-time sentiment tracking gave Valley Metro insights to create powerful social content with its creative agency.

Measuring Success

The opposition had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in large-scale media purchases including billboards, television, and radio advertising. Valley Metro’s response needed to be more efficient. They relied on AlphaVu to measure where the opposition’s messages were resonating, and AlphaVu helped them develop a targeted educational effort to thwart misinformation. Ultimately, Phoenix voters gave overwhelming support to the transit agency’s light rail plans and protected future investments.


Prop 105 failed. Nearly 63% of voters showed their support for funding investments in light rail expansion.


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