Traffic Safety Culture

Traffic Safety Culture (TSC) focuses on how social factors in a community’s culture influence how people prioritize and accept traffic safety strategies.

Creating a positive TSC is integral to helping our nation move toward a highway system with no fatalities. The materials on this page provide education about TSC and guidance for developing TSC programs and initiatives. Much research has been performed on cultural transformation and on TSC. However, more work is needed to apply this knowledge to traffic safety. The TZD program is committed to following and supporting research in this field. In the meantime, we’ll share the tools and resources available with the intent of educating and inspiring others to move TSC forward.

Several of the resources linked here are part of the FHWA Transportation Pooled Fund for Traffic Safety Culture, administered by the Montana Department of Transportation.

Traffic Safety Culture Primer

Traffic Safety Primer Webpage

This website contains the TSC Primer toolkit; materials to guide development of shared   understanding about TSC and its relationship to vision zero goals.

Traffic Safety Culture Primer

The Primer defines TSC and explains its influence on road user behavior and traffic safety, in context of developing TSC and ultimately reaching the goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

Traffic Safety Culture Primer Poster

The Primer poster provides an overview of TSC implementation.

Play Video

Traffic Safety Culture Primer Video for Traffic Safety Professionals

The Primer video provides a brief, easy-to-understand explanation of TSC.

Traffic Safety Culture: A Primer for Traffic Safety Practitioners Final Report

The Primer final report contains details about the contents of the TSC Primer toolkit.

Developing Traffic Safety Culture

Traffic Safety Culture Development Process

This document outlines the basic process for developing a TSC initiative, including learning about TSC in your community, engaging stakeholders, developing and implementing a plan, and measuring progress.

The Business Case for Traffic Safety Culture

This guide is intended to help traffic safety practitioners develop a compelling business case to pitch traffic safety culture projects to leaders, partners and other decision-makers.

NCHRP 17-69: A Strategic Approach to Transforming Traffic Safety Culture to Reduce Deaths and Injuries (Document 252)

This document provides guidance to state agencies on a strategic approach to transform TSC of road users and stakeholders.

NCHRP 20-24(110): DOT-HSO Communication Guidebook: A Study Conducted for AASHTO

This guidebook identifies ways state Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Highway Safety Offices (HSO) could improve internal and external communications on road safety and safety culture.

NCHRP Project 20 68A, Scan 14-03: Successful Approaches for the Development of an Organization-Wide Safety Culture in Transportation Agencies

This document describes a scan tour of agencies demonstrating organizational safety culture.

Play Video

Communication: A Catalyst for Growing a Positive Culture

This video describes communication as an essential component of developing TSC.

Traffic Safety Culture Case Studies

Utah Department of Public Safety: Together for life - Increasing Seat Belt Use in Rural Utah

Utah Department of Public Safety: Together For Life – Increasing Seat Belt Use in Rural Utah

In studying traffic safety culture, Utah HSO recognized the need for a different approach in rural counties. The Together for Life Project was designed to build on existing strengths and resources in Utah’s rural communities.

Missouri Department of Transportation: Buckle Up Phone Down Challenge – Organizational Traffic Safety Culture

This document explains how this campaign got more than 500 businesses and 12,500 individuals in Missouri have pledged to do their part in changing the state’s highway safety culture through the Buckle Up Phone Down (BUPD) challenge.

Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths: Cracking the Code for Developing Traffic Safety Culture

Park Rapids, a rural community (pop. 3,000) in north central Minnesota, conducted a 3-year traffic safety culture (TSC) pilot project (2017-2019) as the latest effort to change people’s behavior in a sustained way.

More on Safety Culture

How are Vision Zero, Safe System, and Traffic Safety Culture Related? 

This webpage provides a helpful explanation of the relationship between safe systems, zero-fatalities-focused programs, and TSC.

Play Video

Moving Beyond Bystander Engagement: Growing Safety Citizenship to Improve Health and Safety

This webinar introduces safety citizenship, which seeks to involve the majority of people engaging in safe behaviors to influence the smaller group engaging in risky behaviors.

Positive Culture Framework: A Foundation for Cultural Transformation

This video introduces how the Positive Culture Framework addresses public health or safety issues by building on the shared values, beliefs and attitudes that already exist in a culture.