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Solutions for equity in mobility

Barr Foundation


Spitfire worked with the Boston-based Barr Foundation to shape the regional conversations about mobility and break through old perceptions that were holding back progress. For this project, Spitfire guided a successful partner-driven process to develop effective, assets-based messaging on transportation that worked across the state of Massachusetts.

To lay the groundwork for this collaboration, we explored how messages related to transportation were playing in other states. We looked at those that were making progress on transportation solutions and those stuck or losing ground. Then, we conducted extensive research on the perceptions and narratives in play in Massachusetts. 

We presented our research findings to a group of more than 20 partners for discussion. Together, we realized that our narrative and messaging strategy needed to achieve several priorities: work in all parts of the state, make a compelling case for equity, link transportation to lives well lived, be intersectional across race and class and overcome immense statewide skepticism of large infrastructure projects. 

Next we led a process to identify important insights from our partners that would guide the narrative messaging. Spitfire further designed creative sessions that found partners working in small groups, creating potential narratives and messages. As a group, we determined a direction and finalized a narrative and messaging approach to catalyze a dramatic shift in the conventional wisdom around mobility in Massachusetts. The goal – shifting the messaging from one of negativity and resignation to one where people view mobility as an essential and positive experience. The overarching idea is that better transportation makes everything better. The partners are now working to integrate the messaging into their work. 

Spitfire services employed


Narrative work

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Issues Covered

Civil liberties