Creating Safer Communities for the Use of Active Transportation Modes in California: The Development of Effective Communication Message Strategy for Vulnerable Road Users

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Despite increased efforts to improve safety in recent years (e.g., the Focus Cities Program in California), California continues to have a high rate of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. Currently, the state currently lacks a cohesive messaging strategy to improve behaviors related to pedestrian and cyclist traffic safety practices. To fulfill this need, this research showcases the differential effect of message framing on attitudes and intended behaviors related to pedestrian and cyclists traffic safety practices. This project investigated factors & risky behaviors contributing to accidents involving vulnerable road users, preventive measures to decrease accidents involving vulnerable road users, and more. The qualitative analysis presented a significant lack of coherent, long-term, evidence-based communication strategies that aimed at enhancing the safety of vulnerable road users in California. Quantitatively, this research also experimentally investigated various messages, employing different time horizons and regulatory focus message framings. Findings indicate that the messages with a limited time horizon tend to be associated with better safety perceptions and attitudes than messages with an expansive time horizon. California transportation authorities, professionals, and advocacy groups will be able to use this information to effectively allocate the communication effort and spending to induce attitudinal and behavioral change that can impact the safety of active transportation modes.



Dr. Samer Sarofim is an award-winning marketing scholar and educator. He served as a Faculty Fellow at Fresno State Transportation Institute and is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the 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 conference. Sarofim is also the recipient of 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 the Journal of Consumer Affairs, Journal of Business Research, and Marketing Letters.


Dr. Tawfik is an Associate Professor of Transportation Systems Engineering and the Founding Director of the Transportation Institute at California State University, Fresno. While his area of expertise includes modeling, simulation, and optimization of individual travel behavior and of transportation systems, he has a particular passion for transportation sustainability and the future of transportation. He is active on research projects and grants focusing on travel data innovation, GIS applications in transportation, and using technology to minimize commute footprints. His other research projects focus on automated transportation systems, particularly shared autonomous vehicles (SAVs). He serves on local, national, and international transportation boards and committees. He is the author of many peer-reviewed publications and has given keynote presentations at local, national, and international conferences.

July 2022
Transportation safety
Vulnerable road users
Transportation modes



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