Communicating Safe Behavior Practices to Vulnerable Road Users

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 was 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.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $490000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project BTS-13

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Governors Highway Safety Association

    444 N. Capitol Street, NW, Suite 722
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, D.C.  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Retting, Richard

  • Performing Organizations:

    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

    208 Patton Hall
    Blacksburg, VA  United States  24061
  • Principal Investigators:

    Owens, Justin

  • Start Date: 20200508
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230831
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01708757
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project BTS-13
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Jun 26 2019 11:50AM