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The National Academies

BTSCRP BTS-18 [Pending]

Objectives, Components, and Measures of Effective Traffic Safety Public Awareness and Education Efforts

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Contract Time: 24 months
Staff Responsibility: Richard Retting

BACKGROUND
 
Most states have engaged in some sort of behavioral-based traffic safety programs using education and enforcement to change road user behavior. Well known examples include National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaigns. With law enforcement agencies across the nation now facing resource challenges, many states are experiencing less participation in these types of campaigns. 
 
Some states have launched new behavioral-based traffic safety campaigns focused more on public awareness, education, and individual responsibility. One example is Missouri’s Buckle Up, Phone Down program. This initiative asks individuals and organizations alike to make positive strides in increasing two behaviors: always use a seat belt when a vehicle is moving and never use a phone while driving or walking. While these campaigns can present some evidence of their effectiveness, often it is limited to communication outputs rather than behavioral outcomes. A better understanding of how to engage road users effectively in such campaigns and ways to measure effectiveness would help create successful and sustainable initiatives.
 
 
OBJECTIVE
 
The objective of this research is to develop a scalable framework for state highway safety offices that (1) identifies components and examples of successful traffic safety public education and awareness efforts designed to elicit behavioral change; (2) outlines the critical components and steps for conducting and evaluating such efforts; and (3) provides a framework for how to implement and evaluate efforts to effectively engage road users and encourage behavioral changes to improve their safety performance.
 
 
RESEARCH APPROACH
 
The research plan should delineate the tasks required to develop the project objective. At a minimum, the tasks should address the following:
  • Identify and analyze examples of traffic safety public education and awareness campaigns, including their effectiveness measures;
  • Describe and assess the variables or methods used to measure effectiveness;
  • Estimate the amount of effort and financial resources needed for the variables and methods;
  • Identify gaps and weaknesses in those campaigns;
  • Analyze and rank the key parameters (e.g., positive peer pressure, clarity of actions, memorable tag lines, flexible messaging) that make the campaigns successful; and
  • Describe the products produced by the framework and suggest implementation strategies.
 
The proposed research plan must be divided into phases. Each phase must be organized by task, with each task described in detail, including the expected deliverable. A kick-off teleconference of the research team and BTSCRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution.
 
Phase I will consist of information gathering and refinement of the work plan for subsequent phases, culminating in the submission of an interim report describing the work completed in Phase I along with a refined scope of the work for Phase II based on the research findings. An interim meeting will be held with BTSCRP to discuss the results of the Phase I tasks. Approval of the Phase I interim report is required before work can commence on subsequent phases. The project schedule shall include 1 month for BTSCRP review and approval of the interim report.
 
Phase II shall consist of the BTSCRP-approved Phase II work plan and the development of the final deliverables.
 
The final deliverables shall include (1) a scalable framework for state highway safety offices that (a) identifies components and examples of successful traffic safety public education and awareness efforts designed to elicit behavioral change; (b) outlines the critical components and steps for conducting and evaluating such efforts; and (c) provides a framework for how to implement and evaluate efforts that effectively engage road users in making behavioral changes to improve their safety performance; (2) a final report documenting the entire project and incorporating all other specified deliverable products of the research; (3) an electronic presentation of the results of the research; (4) recommendations for additional research; and (5) a stand-alone memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products".
 

STATUS: Proposals have been received in response to the RFP.  The project panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.

 

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