By Tim Watkins, SBCTA, Chief of Legislative and Public Affairs
The San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) has been a steady influence on the development of transportation improvements for decades. However, the commuters, residents and business owners of the High Desert may not realize that projects like the I-15/I-215 Devore Interchange, the La Mesa/Nisqualli and Ranchero Road interchanges, the Yucca Loma Corridor, and the Lenwood Road Grade Separation would not be possible without the efforts of this county-wide agency that serves as the Transportation Commission, the Transportation Authority, the Congestion Management Agency, the Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies, and a Council of Governments.
On January 1, 2017, this agency, responsible for the delivery of so many quality-of-life aspects for its residents, began operating under a new name: The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority or SBCTA.
Essentially, the legislative change to the agency is fairly simple in that functionally, it will still operate as it always has to meet its commitments to the voters of San Bernardino County. Senate Bill 1305 (Morrell) consolidated its previous four transportation entities into the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, clarifying the distinction between the transportation-related efforts of the agency and its Council of Governments role. Simply put, the agency is a dual entity made up of the SBCTA and the San Bernardino Associated Governments, which now operates under the name San Bernardino Council of Governments (SBCOG).
The re-naming development process began with a county-wide survey gauging the community’s perceptions, recognition, and project knowledge as it relates to the San Bernardino Associated Governments and “SANBAG.” Research showed that only about one-third of the 800 registered voters who were surveyed were familiar with the agency.
However, when those voters were shown the transportation projects the agency was responsible for, favorability of the agency dramatically increased to 75% through connecting the dots to the improvements to the system. The insights gathered through the county-wide survey supported the need to successfully brand the SBCTA and rebrand the San Bernardino Associated Governments as the SBCOG, providing both entities the opportunity to build a recognizable and positive brand identity that will resonate with residents and workers in the county for years to come.
The next step in the process was an exploration of branding the SBCTA. The hope was to develop a singular name that would help to clearly identify the agency. Unfortunately, after the review of more than a dozen possible names and naming conventions, a natural-flowing option that accurately covered the role of the SBCTA did not present itself. As a result, the effort moved forward with branding the SBCTA acronym. Great detail went into the new brand concept, considering all aspects of our county (i.e. mountains, desert, lakes, valley, roads, etc.). The goal was to develop a brand that was fresh, modern, artistic, and innovative and evoked the feelings of development, movement, and evolution–all exceptional characteristics that the agency represents within San Bernardino County–and reflects the goals shared by those who live and work in the region.
Ultimately, three concepts were evaluated for how well they provided an opportunity for flexibility with color scheme, graphical design, and the ability to give a brand identity to other functions of our agency, all while committing to a consistent, recognizable logo. Considerations of integration with our sister agencies in the region (LA Metro, OCTA, and RCTC) and what that might look like on a partnership document were also strong factors to the final brand concept. The agency wanted something that would stand out from the other agencies but would not overwhelm. After a number of revisions and adjustments, a brand concept was presented to the SANBAG Board of Directors for final approval, which was granted on November 2, 2016.
Moving forward as the SBCTA, the agency remains committed to providing the quality-of-life improvements it has been dedicated to since its inception in 1973. Transportation improvements are a major part of the way our residents navigate the largest county in the United States. Expect that SBCTA will continue to play a role in how commuters and travelers effectively move to and through the region, making the High Desert a great place to live, work, and play.