People on foot or on bike make up the most vulnerable road user group. At least one pedestrian or bicyclist is killed every week in the Tampa Bay area. In the past five years, 240 people have been killed on foot, and 73 people have been killed while riding bicycles in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties combined (FDOT, 2015). The examination of data in the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reveals people on foot were most often killed on higher capacity and higher speed roads classified as “arterial.” “In transportation planning and engineering, arterial roads are expected to move the most automobile traffic possible with minimal delay over longer distances, meaning they often are made wide, fast, and flat to serve the purpose of quick automobile travel. At the same time these arterials have become the “main streets” of our communities, and typically are flanked by apartment complexes, shopping centers and office parks. In Florida, 63.3 percent of pedestrian deaths were on arterials” (Dangerous by Design Florida, 2014).
The purpose of this project is to develop key messages focused on changing a specific behavior for drivers (increase driver yield rates for pedestrians in crosswalks), pedestrians (increase pedestrian use of crosswalks properly), bicyclists (increase use of bicycle lights at night), and employers (offer or increase employer-provided vanpool and transit pass benefits or bicycle commuter benefits) along three high volume, high crash corridors. A social marketing approach using focus groups and interviews will be used to identify current pedestrian, bicyclist, driver, and employer behaviors with regards to the desired behaviors; assess the willingness of pedestrians to properly use crosswalks, bicyclists to use lights at night, drivers to yield for pedestrians in crosswalks, and employers to offer commuter tax benefits to their employees; identify motivators and barriers that influence the desired behaviors; identify opinions on engaging in the desired behaviors; assess the impact of exposure to the campaign; identify potential partners; and identify the best communication channels to reach the intended audiences.