Digital screen use for a road safety campaign message was not associated with attitudes or knowledge of passers-by: an experimental study

Alice Dalton, Florence Sumner, Andrew Jones

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Introduction: Recent evidence suggests fatality risks for cyclists may be increasing in Britain. Understanding how to increase levels of cycling while keeping risk low is paramount. Educating drivers about cyclists may help with road safety, and mass-media messaging is a possible avenue, potentially utilizing digital displays screens in public areas. However, no studies have examined the use of these screens for road safety campaigns. 

Methods: A quasi-experiment was conducted to examine if digital screens may be effective to raise awareness of a campaign message and encourage recall of car drivers. A digital campaign image was selected that encouraged car drivers and cyclists to ‘look out for each other,’ and stated than 80% of cyclists owned a driving license. Views and knowledge on driver priorities around cyclists were examined before (control) and after campaign exposure (intervention), and tested using regression modelling. 

Results: 364 people were interviewed over five days. Those interviewed on intervention days were more likely to rank ‘Look out for cyclists’ as being more important compared to those interviewed on control days (OR 1.20), but this was not statistically significant (p = 0.355). Those who said they had seen the image did not rank ‘Look out for cyclists’ higher than those who said they had not seen it (p = 0.778). The disparity between reported and displayed percentage of cyclists with a driving license did not differ between intervention and control days, but was 8% higher amongst those who claimed to have seen the image (p = 0.026). 

Conclusions: We did not find strong evidence that use of an image on digital screens increased public awareness or recall of a casualty reduction campaign message. Work is needed to investigate the effects of longer-term exposure to road safety images. Practical Applications: Short-term use of digital signage is not recommended for raising awareness of road safety campaigns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-66
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Early online date3 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

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