On-the-Go Fresno Mobile App Offers Pedestrians & Cyclists Safety Info and More

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MTI researchers identify effective mobile application design to enhance active transportation and safety
July 21, 2021
San José, CA

Recently, the Fresno Council of Government, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 6, and the City of Fresno Public Works Department emphasized the importance of designing effective communication tools to enhance the utilization of active transportation modes (walking and biking) and to ensure the safety of vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists). Enter a mobile transportation application—or app—that is attractive and efficient enough to engage active mode users with the goal of increasing active transportation use and safety. New Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) research, Developing an Effective Targeted Mobile Application to Enhance Transportation Safety and Use of Active Transportation Modes in Fresno County: The Role of Application Design & Content, identified the most appealing mobile application design and content to target active transportation mode users to enhance the use of these modes and promote transportation safety practices.  

This research investigated the need for, and the effective design and content of, a proposed mobile application targeting pedestrians and cyclists in Fresno County. The target population deemed functions such as safety information, weather conditions, guide to trails, and promotional offers important in the app design, with safety information deemed most important. App content, potential names, colors, and other features were evaluated for importance and likelihood of use. 

The evaluation revealed a wide assortment of results that could be used in future app development. These include:

  • Almost 40 percent of the 180 pedestrians and cyclists surveyed in Fresno County indicated that having this type of mobile app is either very important or extremely important, and another 30 percent indicated that it is moderately important to them.
  • The average amount participants were willing to pay to download the app was US$2.38.

“Current media vehicles that are used to target vulnerable road users lack effectiveness. Perhaps this is because these media vehicles do not utilize the vast academic research available on media platform design, content, and their effects on altering motivation and behaviors,” the author explains. 

This research was conducted to increase active transportation mode utilization and to enhance the safety of vulnerable road users. The findings can prove useful for policymakers and transportation authorities to target vulnerable road user groups. These findings suggest that there is a need to develop an application for active road users in Fresno County, and the potential success of this type of app in improving safety could be expanded to other counties and states in the future.  


At the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University (SJSU) our mission is to increase mobility for all by improving the safety, efficiency, accessibility, and convenience of our nations’ transportation system. Through research, education, workforce development and technology transfer, we help create a connected world. Founded in 1991, MTI is funded through the US Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants, including those made available by the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB1). MTI is affiliated with SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

Dr. Samer Sarofim is an award-winning marketing scholar and educator. He is a Faculty Fellow at Fresno State Transportation Institute and an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Craig School of Business, California State University – Fresno. His research was honored by the Best Paper Award in the Consumer Behavior Track at the American Marketing Association Summer Academic Conference. Dr. Sarofim is also the recipient of the Pearson Education Michael Solomon Consumer Behavior Best Paper Award and the Society for Marketing Advances Conference (Retailing Track) Best Paper Award. Dr. Sarofim’s research has appeared in multiple prestigious academic journals, including Marketing Letters and the Journal of Business Research.


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Irma Garcia, 

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O: 408-924-7560

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