Assessing how private beliefs conflict with public action on Safe Systems

This project aims to assess the degree of pluralistic ignorance in people’s minds about what others prioritize in transportation, with safety being among the priorities. This project will also analyze participants’ ranked transportation investment priorities and assess how pluralistic ignorance of others’ priorities predicts less desirable travel attitudes and behaviors (e.g., failing to yield to pedestrians in marked crosswalks, driving well above the posted speed limit), as well as participants’ transportation aspirations (e.g., to walk more and drive less); investigate the mismatch among survey participants’ ranked priorities and their local and state policymakers’ transportation-related voting patterns and budgeting decisions; and discern the degree to which pluralistic ignorance helps to explain prevailing patterns in transportation funding and programming; and facilitate other Universities’ and local agencies’ assessment of the population’s transportation investment priorities. This project will reveal and reconcile the sizable gap between what members of the public most want from their transportation system and what they believe others—including policymakers—want from the system. Research on pluralistic ignorance with respect to transportation investment priorities can aid in bridging the chasm between Safe Systems theory and practice, and signal to policymakers and the public that equitable and safe access to services and community life is more widely valued than is commonly believed.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $120397
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    Chapel Hill, NC  United States  27514
  • Project Managers:

    Sandt, Laura

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    UNC-CH New East Building
    Campus Box #3140
    Chapel Hill, North Carolina  United States  27599-3140

    University of California, Berkeley

    444 Davis Hall
    Berkeley, CA  United States  94720
  • Principal Investigators:

    LaJeunesse, Seth

    Cooper, Jill

  • Start Date: 20210601
  • Expected Completion Date: 20221031
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01771276
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747113
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: May 6 2021 10:01AM