The National Academies

BTSCRP BTS-22 [Active]

Guidelines for Selecting Communication Channels to Deliver Traffic Safety Messaging

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Staff Responsibility: Richard Retting
Research Agency: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Principal Investigator: Justin Owens
Effective Date: 8/4/2022
Completion Date: 8/4/2025
Comments: Research underway

All state highway safety offices (SHSOs) are contacted by media companies that offer various ways to share traffic safety messaging with the motoring public. Common strategies include print, broadcast, digital, out-of-home, social, experiential, and partner co-branding. Little is known about the effectiveness of such messaging, whether one form is better than others, or which demographic groups might be most impacted by each form of messaging.
The objective of this research is to develop guidelines for delivering effective behavioral traffic safety messaging and how different delivery methods impact various demographic groups. The research should be based on evaluating a variety of traditional and innovative behavioral traffic safety campaigns to identify noteworthy practices and cost-effective approaches. The research should include case studies of several SHSOs and a diverse spectrum of media strategies.
The BTSCRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective. New and innovative approaches are encouraged.
The research plan should delineate the tasks required to develop guidelines necessary to accomplish the research objective. At a minimum, the tasks should include the following:
  • Document and describe the current state of the practice, including best practices and cost-effective approaches for delivering behavioral traffic safety messages.
  • Identify candidate states in various National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) regions in which to evaluate recent and/or ongoing traffic safety campaigns focused on high-priority behavioral safety issues.
  • Identify measures to assess exposure to traffic safety messaging and changes in driver behavior associated with different forms of traffic safety messaging.
  • Identify a sufficient number of SHSO-led behavioral traffic safety campaigns to provide diverse geographic and demographic representation.
  • Evaluate the behavioral traffic safety campaigns approved in Phase I, using the approved performance measures, with emphasis on how various media strategies affect behavioral outcomes.
  • Prepare guidelines for delivering effective behavioral traffic safety messaging, including information on how different methods of delivering traffic safety messaging impact various demographic groups. The guidelines should be designed to help SHSOs select impactful and cost-effective strategies for delivering behavioral traffic safety messages.
The proposed work plan must be divided into two phases as determined by the proposer. Each phase must be organized by tasks, with each task described in detail. A kickoff 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 research plan for subsequent phases, culminating in the submission of an interim report describing the work completed in Phase I. A meeting will be held with BTSCRP to discuss the interim report and review the Phase II work plan. BTSCRP 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.
At a minimum, the final deliverables shall include:
1. A guide for delivering effective behavioral traffic safety messaging, including considerations for impacting various demographic groups, and costs associated with various delivery methods. The guide should be concise and suitably illustrated.
2. A two-page summary of key findings, suitable for SHSOs and other stakeholders.
3. A final report documenting the entire project and incorporating all other specified deliverable products of the research.
4. A PowerPoint presentation of the findings that can be tailored for specific audiences.
5. A webinar to inform practitioners of the research results.
6. A technical memorandum describing the strengths and limitations of the research and recommendations for additional research.
7. A stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products".
Proposers are encouraged to identify additional deliverables.

Research underway.

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