Case Studies and Research

For more information about conducting education campaigns, check out our education Case Studies and Resources.

Education Campaigns

This guide can help you conduct a successful campaign to educate bicyclists, pedestrians, drivers, and other road users about the safest ways to travel and deal with other road users:

  • Defining Education-Related Problems and Goals
    • The most effective education programs target a specific community problem. Examples of common bicycle- and pedestrian-related problems that can be addressed through education:
    • • Pedestrians at an intersection don't seem to understand the newly-installed pedestrian signals or how to activate them.
      • Bicyclists ride against traffic or in unsafe places.
      • Drivers don't yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
      • Children don't know how to safely cross a street to get to school.
      • Bicyclists ignore traffic signals and signs.
      • Motorists don't safely pass bicyclits.
      • Pedestrians in a popular bar district are unaware of the dangers of drinking and walking.
    • The goals of an education program should be specific, measurable, and related to the problems identified. For instance, if an intersection safety study reveals only 20 percent of pedestrians are activating the pushbutton for a crossing signal, then an education campaign can be developed. The baseline, 20 percent, is the starting point. The education would focus on increasing pedestrians' understanding of the crossing features. The goal could be to increase activation of the pushbutton to 60 percent (or whatever desired level). Establishing baseline conditions helps in setting realistic goals and evaluating program effectiveness.
    • Visit the Community Support section to learn more about common community problems and how education strategies can be used. Also, the PEDSAFE: Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System has a Selection Tool, which enables users to find countermeasures (including education strategies) based on objectives and desired outcomes.
    • Some problems, such as drivers speeding through neighborhoods, can be addressed through education, but may also need the support of enforcement or engineering treatments. See the Enforcement or Planning and Design section to find out more about these strategies.


  • Targeting Specific Audiences
    • There are major differences in the walking and bicycling abilities, behavioral patterns, and learning capacities of different groups of road users. As a results, educational programs need to be tailored to the specific audiences they intend to address and to the behaviors they seek to modify.
    • Common audiences for pedestrian- or bicycle-related education programs include:
    • • Road users, including drivers (young, adult, or older), bicyclists, and pedestrians (children, college age pedestrians, the drinking population, adults/parents/neighbors, older pedestrians, etc.)
      • Commuters/employees.
      • Transportation officials and decision makers, including engineers, planners, developers, local officials/leaders, and law enforcement officers.
    • For each of these groups, it is important to consider:
    • When and how the audience should receive information—for instance, children, depending on their stage of development, may not be able to understand certain messages or complicated images used to convey messages.
    • Demographic factors—for example, how the percentage of non-English speakers in a community affects the educational materials developed or how people with disabilities or low-income populations can get access to the information.
  • Relaying Important Messages
    • Educational messages for road users commonly focus on improving personal safety and law abidance. Campaigns aimed at commuters or employees often focus on messages to encourage drivers to carpool, use transit, or consider non-motorized transportation modes. These campaigns have much in common with many activities that Promote Walking and Health, so visit that section for more information.
    • Education and training programs aimed at transportation officials and decision makers usually focus on encouraging stronger support for policies, programs, and facilities that promote safe walking. This section provides broad concepts for educating officials and decision makers, but you can also visit the Training section to see specific training/workshop opportunities available for professionals.
    • Check out the Pedestrian and Bicycle Education Fact Sheets to learn more about created detailed messages to your target groups.

  • Measuring Program Effectiveness
    • Measuring program effectiveness is important to:
    • • Show an outcome that demonstrates that the program met or exceeded the objectives
      • Help determine if the program needs to be adjusted or changed
      • Document the need for continued funding or program expansion
    • What is measured must relate to the objectives established for the program, and should include observable phenomena — things that can be seen and quantified. Outcomes to be measured could include:
    • • Number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities
      • Behaviors (such as looking, crossing, yielding, and driving behaviors)
      • Knowledge, opinions, and attitudes
      • Changes in organizational activity
    • How and when a program/project is evaluated is determined by the objectives and activities of the project. It is easier to measure the success of a program if decisions are made about what to measure and how/when to evaluate it before implementing the program.
    • The Art of Appropriate Evaluation is a NHTSA guide for highway safety program managers that provides step-by-step instructions for measuring and evaluating program effectiveness.
  • Creating Viable Partnerships
    • Developing and implementing a successful education program cannot be achieved by any one organization or agency—it takes a team effort. The benefits of effective partnerships and collaboration include:
    • • Strength in numbers
      • Additional resources, expertise, and funding
      • Well-coordinated and more efficient use of resources
      • Better anticipation of program obstacles and potential solutions
    • Identifying all interested or potentially affected parties will help ensure success. A successful partnership will include:
    • • Policy and decision makers
      • Engineers and transportation planners
      • Educators (including teachers, principles, school board members etc.)
      • Law enforcement officers and judges
      • Advocates
      • Health and safety professionals
    • Some strategies for building effective partnerships include:
    • • Understand the issues and the purpose of the partnership
      • Seek to interest agencies and encourage cooperation
      • Establish agreed-upon, long-term goals, strategies, and responsibilities
      • Provide win/win situations
    • The National Center for Safe Routes to School Online Guide has a section that discusses strategies to develop partnerships and coalitions for SRTS programs. Chapter 2 of the How to Develop a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan guide also discusses ways to work with stakeholders to develop partnerships for pedestrian safety programs.
  • Finding Program Support
    • Successful education programs need long-term funding and support. This can be through local or regional agency budgets, support and contributions provided by local businesses or other stakeholders and partners, or state and federal grants. Read through the Education Case Studies to see how other groups have found funding for education activities, and visit the Funding section to get broad information on funding strategies and sources for pedestrian projects.