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

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. 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.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $350000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project BTS-18

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program

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

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, D.C.  United States  20590

    Governors Highway Safety Association

    444 N. Capitol Street, NW, Suite 722
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Retting, Richard

  • Performing Organizations:

    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

    Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
    3500 Transportation Research Plaza
    Blacksburg, VA  United States  24061
  • Principal Investigators:

    Dunn, Naomi

  • Start Date: 20230119
  • Expected Completion Date: 20250119
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01744482
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project BTS-18
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Jun 30 2020 12:06PM