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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation
FHWA Highway Safety Programs

Research and Methodology

Identifying the target audience(s) is the first step toward designing a successful marketing campaign. LISBOA designed the National Pedestrian Safety Engineering Outreach Campaign with a focus on research. The first step was to convene a Technical Working Group composed of engineering and traffic safety experts representing various disciplines from around the United States. During the course of the project the TWG met three times. The first meeting was held in October 2001. At this meeting the group addressed their main objectives which included: sensitizing drivers to pedestrians' rights to the road; educating pedestrians about minimizing their risks; and developing program materials to educate pedestrians and drivers about engineering safety countermeasures. In the first meeting the target audiences were also identified: young drivers and working-age pedestrians. Targeting these audiences would have the largest impact on the pedestrian safety problem. Young drivers cause a disproportionate number of crashes. Pedestrians are a varied group, working age adults are captured in this audience, as are parents of young children and older adults.

LISBOA collected 108 pedestrian safety-related campaign items from 16 states and national campaigns as research material for the NPSEOC. These items were each individually reviewed by the Communications Specialist and catalogued. These materials were reviewed and analyzed, some common themes were identified and taken into consideration as new materials were developed for this campaign. Furthermore, some of the materials were shown to focus groups and evaluated by target audience members. Of the 108 items, 13 were videotapes containing television PSAs; 39 were brochures, booklets or leaflets; and 8 were posters. In addition, there was a CD powerpoint presentation, yard signs, newspaper articles, buttons, a newsletter, some Spanish language material, a zipper pull, wallet card, and a variety of other materials.

The TWG generated multiple ideas for campaign concepts and taglines during the first meeting. LISBOA conducted eight focus groups during the course of the project. Four groups were held with drivers and four with pedestrians. The focus groups were held from December 2001 to April 2002. Groups were held with drivers and pedestrians in order to assess their differing perspectives, motivations, concerns, and preferences. The groups yielded a great deal of valuable information and were a guiding force throughout the campaign development process. Numerous taglines, concepts, themes, and creative approaches were tested with the focus groups. Their detailed comments and suggestions shaped the campaign materials. For example, the drivers asserted that children get their attention and that they drive more cautiously around children. The drivers and pedestrians both thought that pedestrian injuries and fatalities are a serious issue that should not be treated lightly - they did not like comedic approaches to the topic that we tested. All of the pedestrians indicated feeling afraid while walking. They were all fearful of being hit by a car. Furthermore, all of the pedestrians could recall "close calls" with a vehicle, one even reported being hit by a car.

The TWG was re-convened after the first six focus groups had been conducted and the research results were reported to the TWG as well as the themes, slogans, and materials that LISBOA developed as a result of the research participants' input. The creative materials were further refined based on the TWG's feedback and were tested again with focus groups of drivers and pedestrians.

Finally, LISBOA compiled all of the research: the focus group's recommendations, the TWG's recommendations, and the quantitative information concerning pedestrian crashes. Then, based on LISBOA's expertise and experience with successful public outreach campaigns, the concepts were further refined and the ones deemed most effective were selected for television production.

Subsequent to the production of the television PSAs, the TWG met for a final session. The group reacted positively to the four television PSAs and offered valuable insight into refining the radio and print PSAs prior to final production. They also offered their suggestions for the construction of the strategic planning guide. LISBOA strived to attain the same "look and feel" throughout the campaign materials.

Summary - Key Points

Target Audiences

  • Young Drivers
  • Working Age Adult Pedestrians

Key Issues (Based upon data supplied by FHWA and NHTSA):

  • Drivers yielding to pedestrians in unmarked crosswalks.
  • Drivers yielding to pedestrians when making a right or left turn in a signalized crosswalk.
  • Pedestrians understanding the meaning of the "Walk" and "Don't Walk" signals
  • Pedestrians understanding the need to be visible, i.e. wear retro-reflective materials.

Focus Group Recommendations for Production:

  • Make sure the spots have emotional impact
  • Use visuals of children

Desired Outcomes for the "Driver" targeted spots:

  • More drivers stay alert when approaching intersections.
  • More drivers yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
  • The spots teach people to appropriately identify pedestrian crossing signs.
  • The spots educate people about what the pedestrian crossing signs mean.

Key messages for the "Driver" targeted spots:

  • Stay alert at ALL intersections.
  • Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

The following images were included based on FHWA recommendations:

  • Warning Sign for Pedestrian Crossing
  • Warning Sign for School Crossing
  • Warning Sign for Children/People on the Sidewalk

Desired Outcomes for the "Pedestrian" targeted spots:

  • More pedestrians use the crosswalks.
  • Educate pedestrians about meanings of pedestrian signals.
  • Educate pedestrians about need for retro-reflective materials.

Key messages for the "Pedestrian" targeted spots:

  • Follow the pedestrian signals.
  • Make yourself visible with retro-reflective materials.
  • Use crosswalks.