26 April 2007
|Education projects: structural evaluation advisable
First systematic evaluation completed
|Road safety education projects are rarely systematically evaluated. Therefore SWOV carried out a study into the effects of road safety education in the recently completed 2003-2006 research programme. This recent study showed that more than half of the projects resulted in a small but significant improvement in safe traffic behaviour a month after such the project had finished. Therefore SWOV is in favour of structural evaluation in order to contribute to a further professionalizing of traffic education in the Netherlands.
The researchers in the project entitled EVEO, Study of the Effects of Traffic Education, have concentrated on the question of how to best quantify the effects of education programmes. The number of crashes is inadequate as a measure of effectiveness because crashes are rare, and because their causes are partially determined by a sequence of events. It is difficult to isolate education's role in an individual crash. That is why it is better to use a measure which is directly related to the behaviour that should be learnt.
In the EVEO project the choice was made to use participants' self-reported traffic behaviour as the measure of effectiveness. This self reported behaviour and the behavioural changes as a result of traffic lessons show whether the project has been effective. We made corrections for influences external to the programme by measuring self-reported behaviour in a control group that had not followed the programme.
More than half the projects lead to safer traffic behaviour
As it turned out, SWOV assessed eleven education programmes. These were mainly targeted at the young and children, and were mostly part of the school curriculum. Sometimes the projects were aimed at specific groups of road users, such as young moped riders. Most of the education projects were aimed at making participants aware of traffic's dangers and safe and unsafe behaviour. This is done by, for example, classroom discussions, demonstrations, and information campaigns and films.
A month after the programme had finished, more than half of the projects resulted in improved traffic behaviour. The changes measured were perhaps small, but can generally be traced as effects of the programme concerned.
SWOV explains the effects measured as follows: