Public attitudes to road user safety

Project details

Full project title: Understanding public attitudes to road user safety

Sponsor: Department for Transport

CTS project director: Dr Charles Musselwhite

Other UWE Bristol team members: Dr Erel Avineri, Dr Yusak Susilo and Dr Eamon Fulcher

Start date: October 2008

Finish date: August 2009

Project briefing sheet: Download the briefing sheet document (PDF)

Project summary

The Centre for Transport and Society in collaboration with the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB) has been commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) to examine the public attitudes to road user safety. This research will provide the DfT with an in-depth understanding of how the public engage with the issue of road user safety, to help inform development of the Government's Post-2010 Road Safety Strategy.

The primary aims of this research are to:

  1. review and synthesise existing research on public attitudes to road safety to inform subsequent research components
  2. explore public understanding, attitudes, and experiences towards road safety, getting beneath "top of mind" responses in the wider context of attitudes, identity, motivations, values, lifestyles, life-stages and behaviour to develop a framework to improve understanding
  3. explore how attitudes change in response to the provision of information about road safety issues and policies
  4. consider the relationship between attitudes and behaviour and to identify and explore the barriers and incentives to behavioural change which could result in improved roads safety
  5. inform post-2010 and wider road safety policy development
  6. make recommendations for how the findings from this research could inform a future quantitative study.

There are a number of different psychosocial variables affecting the way in which the public engage with the issue of road safety and taking a broad definition of attitudes to also encompass other related psychosocial variables including social norms, identity, pro-social behaviour and risk. In addition, there are a variety of different groups that will need to be considered as they are likely to have significantly strong attitudes with regards to road user safety including young (especially male) and novice drivers, those who drive for work, motorcyclists, children, older people, black and minority ethnic groups, those living in deprived areas.

The project will begin with a literature review of the evidence which will provide a theoretical framework to develop the recruitment of different segments of the population; their mediation of risk; and substantive issues to be explored through the deliberative process. This will then lead on to in depth deliberative research. Specifically it will involve reconvened events in five areas. A one off deliberative event will also be convened. The event will engage with a cross section of the population and explore in detail the values and trade offs involved policy options.