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14 Developing an evidence-informed pedestrian safety communication campaign
  1. Maryanne Bailey1,
  2. Eileen McDonald1,
  3. James Williams2,
  4. Keshia Pollack1,
  5. Sue Baker1,
  6. Nasir Ismail3,
  7. Elizabeth Nesoff3,
  8. Andrea Gielen1
  1. 1Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, USA
  2. 2Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, USA
  3. 3Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA

Abstract

Pedestrian fatalities have been increasing in the U.S. and almost three quarters occur in an urban setting. To reduce the risk of pedestrian injury among individuals on and around an urban, academic healthcare campus, a communication campaign was created as one component of a comprehensive pedestrian safety intervention. A 10-minute online survey, open for 3 weeks in Aug-Sept 2013, was distributed via email and e-newsletters to the target audience – members of an academic healthcare community and residents in the community. Neighbourhood partners worked with low-income and low-literacy residents to access and complete the survey if they desired. Based on the online survey data, strategic and creative approaches for a pedestrian safety communication campaign were developed and tested with n = 4 focus groups composed of target audience participants. The final strategic and creative approach was determined from the results of the focus groups, which involved open ended questions and discussions as well as the participants completing rating sheets. Most respondents reported that pedestrian safety was an important or very important problem (97%) and that drivers and pedestrians (74%) contribute equally to it. 56% reported that a communication campaign to educate pedestrians and drivers about how to stay safe would be effective or very effective in improving pedestrian safety. Open-ended questions solicited suggestions for persuasive campaign messages. Focus group participants (n = 31) rated “Alertness” as the most effective strategic approach and “Be alert. Don’t get hurt” as the most effective creative message. Soliciting information and opinions from the target audience bolsters the chance of developing a communication campaign targeted to its needs. Pedestrian safety campaigns are often created without the use of formative research. This work demonstrates how both quantitative and qualitative data from the target audience can inform the development of a campaign to maximise the impact on reducing pedestrian injuries.

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