Research Papers

Picture this – you’re in a traffic jam. The use of imagery to influence road user behaviour

Version 1
Date added July 10, 2018
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Category 2018 CARSP XXVIII Victoria
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 5A
Author/Auteur Roberts
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)

5A - Roberts

Abstract

Picture this, you are in a traffic jam and the queues are long – what would make you feel like you had more understanding of the situation? Would seeing a livestreaming video or a suitable image from the crash site increase your empathy for the first responders trying to do their job? In 2015, it was identified that one of greatest challenges facing road policing in Australia was the delays caused as an incident is resolved and the roadway is returned. The biggest frustration of the public through forums such as talk back radio are the reasons behind any delay. Research was conducted to examine a driver’s thoughts when first learning a crash was the cause of them being delayed in traffic and what steps they took to find out how long it would take to clear the scene. First responders, where appropriate, were encouraged to relate experiences with aggrieved motorists whilst trying to clear a crash scene. The outcome of the survey was to determine road user attitude to being shown the crash scene with a simple explanation for the delay and whether this would change their attitude towards first responders/road crews on site. The survey was conducted via Survey Monkey and case studies of crashes where long delays occurred were also made. Approximately 96% of respondents had been caught in a traffic jam that was the result of an earlier crash. Thirty six per cent thought about the welfare of those involved before thoughts turned to how long they would be delayed. Those who thought of delays either casually or emotively counted for a combined 57% of respondents. Eighty five percent relied on radio news and 32% on social media to find out the length of any delay. One third of first responders said they were verbally abused by motorists while trying to process a crash site. Provided victim care has been addressed and suitable steps have been taken to protect the identity of the deceased or next of kin are notified, two thirds of survey respondents said they would be receptive to being shown a photo/video of the crash site. Data shows the majority of respondents turned to radio bulletins before social media to determine the length of any delay. It is suggested social media posts need to target those who are yet to make their journey while commercial radio is to be used for those already on the road or caught in any delay. Some mainstream commercial media outlets have prefaced traffic updates of such crashes by confirming the fatality and offering context to delayed motorists. For emergency services this would place a moderate demand on field personnel to ensure appropriate imagery was provided to organisational media teams. This would require supplementary training or over the phone briefing from media advisors. Effectiveness of any posts would be based on monitoring of mainstream and social media.