To stay safe on the roads, we need good infrastructure, alert road-users and effective technology. But what about a general safety culture? A team of researchers from countries with very different approaches to road-use is developing a cultural approach to road safety with the ultimate objective of cutting traffic accident numbers.
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Safety culture covers values, actions and behaviours that show a commitment to safety over other interests or demands. A weak safety culture leads to a higher number of accidents that are also more severe.
The EU-funded TRASACU project has a two-fold research strategy: encouraging interaction between traffic participants and their environment in terms of the cultural approaches to risk-taking and risk perception, and identifying those cultural elements that can be changed easily to improve road safety.
Researchers taking part in a staff exchange will collect data and share experiences about selected traffic safety cultures across Europe and the US. These will then be analysed using state-of-the-art statistical and interpretive methods. In addition to secondary data, the team will also use the results of driver surveys, official statistics, in-depth interviews and observational data.
Once the TRASACU team has a comprehensive model of traffic safety culture and a vision of what cultural changes are possible, it will develop a change-management and implementation strategy so that its findings may be put into practice.