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South West Transit Association

Celebrating 36 years of exceptional creativity in the transit industry!

SPOTLIGHT (600 × 200 px)

SWTA's annual Spotlight Awards –

are among the oldest awards recognizing marketing campaigns and projects in the public transportation industry, first awarded in 1990.

Submissions are judged by marketing and communication professionals at transit agencies and private marketing firms throughout the SWTA Nation. 

5 award winners are judged amongst similar-sized transit systems and specific print, electronic, social, and event media projects.

Entry Guidelines

Who can enter?

Transit agencies of all sizes in the SWTA region whose membership is in good standing are eligible to enter the 2024 36th Annual Spotlight and Hit the Spot Awards.

(to check membership status please email

How do I enter?

  • $35 per entry.  Upon completion of submission an invoice will be issued.
Entry Deadline:
  • All entries must be uploaded HERE no later than 5 p.m. (CST) June 1, 2024.
Competition Period:
  • Entry material must have been published, broadcast, or otherwise disseminated between June 1, 2023 and May 31, 2024

Independent judges from within the transit and professional marketing industries will be selected to review the Spotlight and Hit the Spot entries. Each judging team will judge entries outside their system size.
Entries will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • “Bang for the Buck” quotient: Impact or success relative to cost (25%)
  • Appeal: Overall presentation (25%)
  • Execution: Appropriateness of media components to target markets (10%)
  • Message: Style and Content (10%)
  • Quality: Production of components (10%)
  • Effectiveness: How well the campaign or medium met its goal and objectives (20%)
Entry Classification:

Entries will be classified and judged alongside peers in a comparable system size. Entries will be grouped for judging by the number of passenger trips a system provides annually. Rural and Tribal transit providers will be judged within the same category.

  • Category 1. Rural or Tribal Public Transportation Providers
  • Category 2. 5307 public transportation providers with 1 million or fewer passenger trips annually
  • Category 3. 5307 public transportation providers with 1 million – 8 million passenger trips annually
  • Cateory 4. 5307 public transportation providers with more than 8 million, but fewer than 20 million passenger trips annually
  • Category 5. 5307 public transportation providers with more than 20 million passenger trips annually
Competition Categories:
  • Spotlight Award: Honors outstanding work for a total transit marketing campaign. The award recognizes a total mixed-media marketing campaign that shows a unifying strategy, purpose, or theme. It is typically an awareness building or educational campaign.


  • Hit the Spot Awards: Honors outstanding work for single and/or new transit marketing projects.  Categories include:
    • Print Media:  Single collateral entries including, but not limited to, route maps, brochures, OOH, and print advertising, printed newsletters, giveaways, etc.
    • Electronic Media: Including, but not limited to, radio or TV commercials, PSA (public service announcements), podcasts, and educational videos.
    • Social Media: Any online medium that permits directs contact and/or two-way conversation with your target audience.  Including, but not limited to social media campaigns, electronic apps, digital display ads, traditional digital media advertisements, LIVEs, etc.
    • Event Promotion: Including, but not limited to, in-person ride campaigns, employee recognition events, contests, community service events, etc.

Winners will be announced on July 1st and will receive an award at SWTA's Summer University.

  • If chosen as a winner you or someone from your organization will have the opportunity to present your success story to other workshop attendees during the 2024 Transit Marketing Workshop at the SWTA Summer University Conference. This is an opportunity for you to teach other marketing professionals in the transit industry and share your great ideas. Attending the workshop is not a pre-requisite, but if you win, it would be nice to receive your award in person.
    • We will notify you in enough time to put together a brief slideshow. Please bring print or giveaway samples to the conference so that others can learn from your work.  We want to see:
      • What was the opportunity or challenge that inspired the campaign?
      • What was the goal of the campaign?
      • What was the target audience?
      • Campaign or promotion budget to actual.
      • Describe the elements of the campaign.
      • Number of people reached.
      • Impact figures.
      • Lessons learned.
Questions or Comments?
  • Technical or Billing Support - Amanda Webb
  • All other questions - Rich Sampson
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