Little was known about if or how behavioral change theories were being used to design and evaluate employer-provided behavior traffic safety programs. This was a concern because rooting interventions in a theory of behavioral change can improve program impact and ensure the largest return on safety investment. Few tools were available for safety practitioners to help expand the use of theories in employer-based traffic safety programs, specifically those targeting behavior change. The project resulted in the development of an interactive, web-based tool to help promote the use of behavioral change theories in program planning, implementation, and evaluation.
- Evidence of the effectiveness of behavioral change theory in general exists but theories have not been broadly applied and evaluated in employer-based programs.
- Across employers, evaluation of specific safety programs consisted of monitoring driver performance and events (e.g., crashes) to identify problems and modify the safety program to address those issues.
- The project tool provides employers with an easily accessible and flexible means of learning about current practice and theory along with resources for planning, implementing, and evaluation their behavioral -based traffic safety programs.
Researchers took a four-step approach to improving guidance for Employer-Based Behavioral Traffic Safety Programs. These steps include:
- document components of existing employer-based behavioral traffic safety programs through a literature review and employer interviews,
- use behavioral change theories to identify essential program components,
- identify measures of program effectiveness, and
- develop an interactive, web-based guidance tool to support program planning, implementation, and evaluation.
Overall, there is limited explicit use of behavioral change theory in designing or evaluating employer-based traffic safety programs. Most of the measures of effectiveness identified in the literature review were based on monitoring or examining program outcomes rather than the process of implementing the program or trainee reactions. Through the employee interviews, the project team discovered five key themes:
- Safety culture was strongest in transit agencies and corporate trucking companies.
- The presence of safety culture increased as the degree of driving hazards increased.
- Packaged programs were common among transit agencies and trucking companies.
- There were no traditional evaluations, rather employers monitored driver behavior and events to identify problems and modified their programs to address these issues.
- Common measures of effectiveness included numbers of incidents (e.g., crashes, instances of harsh braking or speeding), often augmented with in-vehicle monitoring data and public complaints.
Based on these findings the project resulted in the development of an interactive, web-based tool to help promote the use of behavioral change theories in program planning, implementation, and evaluation. This tool incorporates previous research, state-of-the-practice, and theory, along with planning aids such as an introduction to behavioral change theory, an overview of measures of program effectiveness, and a logic model template.
A unique benefit of the tool is it provides employers with easy access to current practices. The tool uses four related categories of content — framed broadly as “What are you trying to learn?”— separated into four sub-questions to guide the user through the content:
- What are other people doing and what is available? (A collection of case studies relating to current practice.)
- How do we change behavior? (An overview of behavioral change theory with examples.)
- How do I know my program is working? (Information on common measures of effectiveness and program evaluation practice.)
- What can help me plan my safety program? (Visualizing the interactions of resources and outcomes using an interactive logic model.)
Project Materials or Reports
For more information on this project, please contact:
Senior Research Scientist
Project Title: BTSCRP – Employer-Based Behavioral Traffic Safety Programs
Project Start and End Dates: December 2019 – March 2022
Author List: Eva Shipp, Dennis Perkinson, Amber B. Trueblood, Stephanie C. Payne, Winfred Arthur Jr., Laura Higgins, Nolan J. Miller, Julia Hong, Casey Greger, Emily Martin, Jennifer Miller, and Katie Womack
Sponsor/Funding Source: BTSCRP