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Traffic Safety Culture: TSC Pooled Fund

This program is a cooperative effort of participating state DOTs and other organizations vested in traffic safety.


TPF-5(309) Study Description


The National Towards Zero Deaths (TZD) Safety Initiative is a cooperative and coordinated effort amongst state highway safety agencies and stakeholders. The transformation of the traffic safety culture is a primary element of the TZD strategy. Only through the growth of a positive safety culture can significant and sustainable reductions in crash fatalities and serious injuries be achieved. Such transformation would not only support traffic safety goals by reducing risky behaviors and increasing protective behaviors, it would also increase public acceptance of other forms of effective traffic safety programs.

As a starting point, the proposed pooled fund program will direct action research to measuring, analyzing, and transforming the cultural factors that influence the most common behavioral risk factors at the national and state level.

Specific projects related to each risk factor may focus on driver type (e.g., subcultures), contributing factors (e.g., driving experience), and environment context (e.g., rural). These projects will also examine the various origins of cultural influences that may exist from the different levels of society (groups) with which people may identify.


This program is a cooperative effort of participating state DOTs and other (traditional and non-traditional) organizations with a vested interest in traffic safety. This long-term partnership will support an evolving and integrated project portfolio developed and revised each year by the partners, and complimentary to other related research activities, such as NCHRP 17-69: A Strategic Approach to transforming Traffic Safety Culture to reduce Deaths and Injuries. Together, these projects will accelerate the development and delivery of tools and services to transform the national, state, and community level traffic safety culture. The goal of this transformation is to support the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) vision with sustainable traffic safety solutions.

Scope of Work:

In this context, the Montana Department of Transportation is partnering with the Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC) within the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) at Montana State University to (1) conduct research to solve specific culture-based traffic safety problems, (2) create training and education materials to enhance workforce understanding and application of traffic safety culture methods, and (3) provide technology transfer of best practices in traffic safety culture methods to all stakeholders. Together, these efforts will support the transformation of traffic safety culture within the families, communities, and organizations of participating states.

This partnership will support an integrated and multiyear program of research in a long-term effort to support the transformation of state and national traffic safety culture. Partners will determine the priority issues in each year. A work plan will then be developed for the selected priority issues. These work plans are expected to have three levels of scope. This funding model is intended to provide a sustainable program of research to support highway safety partners to transform traffic safety culture in order to achieve sustainable traffic safety goals.

First, the partnership may generate ideas for general “services and tools” within the general “action framework” developed by the CHSC to meet the traffic safety goals of most partners. For example, stakeholders participating at the recent National Roadway Safety Culture Summit identified a number of common needs to support the transformation of a positive safety culture for the driving public and traffic safety organizations:

  •  Develop online courses for workforce development in the understanding and application of traffic safety culture transformation methods.
  • Explore, synthesize, and define noteworthy practices both within and outside the transportation industry for developing and sustaining an organizational safety culture.
  • Identify strategies, develop transformational leadership training, and develop supporting materials to help leadership promote traffic safety culture.
  • Develop standardized survey tools, administration protocols, and analysis methods to access impacts of efforts to transform traffic safety culture.
  • Create repository of relevant literature and case studies of best practice relevant to the transformation of traffic safety culture and the formation of safety culture partnerships.
  • Create an online forum to which professionals (professional societies and other stakeholder groups) can collaborate to promote safety culture.

Second, this program could conduct research directed to traffic safety problems that have a common cultural component shared by many communities and jurisdictions across the participating partners. For example, there are common behavioral risk factors that are evident both at the national level and identified in many state Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSP).

Third, this program can also be used to implement a limited number of demonstration projects of specific traffic safety culture transformation studies within a few selected communities. Examples of possible types of projects are listed in the attached document. These projects may also be identified from the parallel and complementary NCHRP 17-69 research effort to develop a strategic plan for transforming traffic safety culture. These efforts could then be applied to every state that develops a strategic highway safety plan (SHSP) with an interest in transforming safety culture among the agency and driving population. Depending on the results, these projects can then be modified and expanded for implementation within other partner communities. This could be done either within the current program or as a separate pooled fund project amongst participating partners.


Federal Fiscal Year Annual Work Plans

2015    2016    2017    2018    2019

General Pooled Fund Resources