Research Papers

Regional Community Liaison: Rural Roads Initiative

Filename Cotton.pdf
Filesize 149 KB
Version 1
Date added June 6, 2010
Downloaded 1 time/fois
Category 2010 CMRSC XX Niagara
Tags Session 1B
Author/Auteur Carol P. Cotton, Erin Kirkbride, Allison Grimes, Jennifer Mitchell, Pearman Parker, James Barlament, Courtnee Edgerston, Stuart W. Fors

Abstract

Purpose: The Regional Community Liaison (RCL) project is intended to increase community readiness for the adoption of traffic policies and programs in rural areas to reduce fatalities, injuries, and crashes on rural roads.
Method: This project was conducted in 3 phases. During Phase 1, three Districts were selected to participate in the RCL project. Qualitative data was collected through interviews with community stakeholders to determine existing knowledge and concerns regarding traffic safety within the community. In Phase 2, two RCLs were hired to assist the stakeholders and placed in Districts 2 and 9, with 8 as a control group. In Phase 3 post-interviews were conducted with community stakeholders a year after the RCLs were in place. Community readiness scores for these interviews were determined using the same methodology as in Phase 1. The scores were compared to determine each community’s readiness to change, and all interviews were analyzed for common themes (n = 54).
Results: The pre- and post-interview scores determining a community’s readiness to change showed significant differences (p<.001) in Districts 2 and 9, but not in District 8. No county level differences were revealed. Individual interview scores differed significantly on the dimensions of existing community efforts, community knowledge of efforts, leadership, community climate, knowledge about the issue, and resources for prevention efforts. Five major themes emerged from the interviews about the issue of traffic safety in the rural communities: 1) lack of manpower and funding, 2) lack of accessibility and awareness, 3) residents’ apathy towards traffic safety, 4) residents’ limited knowledge, and 5) degree of concern of traffic safety among leadership.
Conclusions: Stakeholders of traffic safety issues in rural communities do not feel supported by the local populations nor do they believe they have the tools necessary to do their job effectively. The apathy towards traffic safety found in rural communities must be addressed by local leadership. For the RCL to increase awareness of traffic safety issues and decrease crashes, injuries and fatalities they must: 1) promote citizen involvement, 2) expand community agency partnerships, 3) increase best practices traffic safety activities, 4) increase collaboration to ensure maximum efficiency of current resources, and 5) leverage new resources in a difficult economy. The placement of a RCL in different state regions allows for highly tailored problem solving and the creation of implementation strategies that will address the unique traffic safety issues found in individual communities within the regions.

Carol P. Cotton, Erin Kirkbride, Allison Grimes, Jennifer Mitchell, Pearman Parker, James Barlament, Courtnee Edgerston and Stuart W. Fors