Background Pedestrian injuries continue to be an intractable global public health. Engineering changes and enforcing traffic laws have considerable evidence supporting their effectiveness. Also important but less well understood is how to influence pedestrian and driver behaviour through educational campaigns. Our purpose is to describe how we developed, implemented and evaluated a social marketing campaign to address this gap.
Methods The site was an urban academic medical centre campus where large numbers of students, staff, patients, and visitors drive and walk daily. Formative research included focus groups with the target audience. A two-phase, six-month campaign targeted both drivers and pedestrians, and was based on social marketing concepts of product, price, promotion, and place. Evaluation included baseline, mid-term, and follow-up online surveys of campus and community respondents. We analysed the proportion who reported: 1) exposure to the campaign and their reactions to it; and 2) driving and street crossing behaviours.
Results Online survey sample sizes were 3,928 at baseline, 2,705 at mid-term, and 3,017 at follow-up. At mid-term 82% reported having seen campaign materials and at follow-up this% was 78. At both time points the majority of respondents (≥70%) rated the campaign positively. At follow-up the proportion reporting they often looked both ways before crossing an intersection was 94.5% for those reporting exposure to the campaign and 88.1% for those reporting no exposure to the campaign. The proportion reporting they often drove slowly through intersections to look for pedestrians was 50% for those reporting exposure to the campaign and 42% for those reporting no exposure to the campaign.
Conclusions Few pedestrian safety campaigns are systematically planned and evaluated. This work (which includes a free dissemination guide) provides a roadmap to developing such interventions, and results show promise for enhancing individuals’ safety.
- social marketing
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