In 2018, vulnerable road users (pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists) accounted for 12,125 (33%) of traffic fatalities in the United States. The diversity of these users complicates the design and implementation of effective programs for communicating safe behavior practices. For example, consider the statistics for pedestrians: 20% were 65 or older, 18% were 14 or younger, 75% of accidents occurred during darkness, 80% of accidents occurred in urban areas, and 70% were males (in 2017). There have been numerous public communication campaigns designed to curtail high risk behaviors in these populations, but given their growing number of fatalities, it is time to enhance the understanding of how behavioral safety messages are received by the target populations and what messages or marketing strategies are most effective at altering behaviors. For all three groups, an appropriate segmentation approach could improve the impact of behavioral safety interventions at the individual, interpersonal, community, and societal levels.
Despite current efforts to address vulnerable road user behavior, fatalities and serious injuries continue to occur at unacceptable levels. Research is needed to uncover the underlying unsafe behaviors and to develop effective outreach strategies for altering behaviors for each vulnerable road user group.
The objective of this research is to (1) develop a framework that identifies and prioritizes the root causes of high risk behaviors of vulnerable road users (motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians) resulting in fatalities or serious injuries, and (2) develop effective outreach strategies for altering unsafe behavior of each vulnerable road user group.
STATUS: Research underway.