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Strategy E1. Provide Public Information and Education

NCHRP Report 500 / Volume 12: A Guide for Reducing Collisions at Signalized Intersections


Signalized intersections with a high frequency of crashes related to drivers either being unaware of (or refusing to obey) traffic laws and regulations that impact traffic safety (especially red-light running, speeding, and not yielding to pedestrians).

Collage of images including a screenshot of a web page, a brochure, and a photo of a device that shows both the posted speed limit and the actual speed of a vehicle as it approaches the device.


Providing targeted public information and education (PI&E) on safety problems at intersections is a preventive measure that can help improve driver compliance with traffic control devices and traffic laws. PI&E programs generally add effectiveness to targeted enforcement programs as well.

Another option is to develop public information campaigns aimed at specific drivers who violate regulations at intersections, even though it is often difficult to identify and focus upon a subset of the driving population using a specific intersection. Therefore, an area-wide program is often the preferred approach. Targeted drivers need to be defined both in terms of the location of the hazardous intersection(s) and the attributes of the drivers who may have been identified as overrepresented in the population involved in crashes. More information on public information that is targeted at specific drivers is provided in NCHRP Report 500: Volume 5.


Keys to success include identifying and reaching as much of the intended audience as possible, providing information in non-technical terms, and providing agency personnel to answer questions and calls from the public. This can be done through television, Internet, radio, distribution of flyers, driver education classes, or other methods.

It is important to motivate people to drive, bike, or walk safely. Since unsafe actions do not always result in crashes, road users may have a false sense of security and may not see the need to drive more safely or follow traffic regulations in all circumstances.

Use of trained public information specialists is important for program success. Establishing good relationships with media representatives will be extremely helpful for maximizing coverage and impact.


The primary potential difficulty associated with this strategy is relating the importance of informational/educational programs to the public. Websites, brochures, posters, and advertisements can be effective if they are conspicuous and readily available. Use of electronic media is expensive, unless strategies are employed for receiving donated time. Consideration should be given to people who may need materials in languages other than English or in alternative formats to accommodate disabilities. Another difficulty is maximizing the reach of a public involvement program.


Implementation time for this strategy should be short to moderate. Extensive planning of the program and design of the educational materials can lengthen the implementation time.


Costs will generally be low to moderate and depend upon the kinds of materials developed (Internet, brochures, posters, radio, or television advertisements), the extent of effort spent on designing the materials, and the amount of free media coverage that can be achieved.


TRIED: Data on the effectiveness of this strategy for this specific application are not known, but it is expected that providing information to drivers will help improve safety at intersections. It may not be possible to identify or reach the entire audience that would benefit from a PI&E campaign.


This strategy can be used in conjunction with the other strategies for improving safety at signalized intersections. It may be used in conjunction with overall traffic safety public service campaigns.


There is a potential need for cooperation among various media agencies to effectively implement the selected strategy. A media specialist should be involved from the initial stage of project planning. Also refer to Countermeasures That Work from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For more details on this and other countermeasures: http://safety.transportation.org

For more information contact:

FHWA Office of Safety Design
E71, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, D.C. 20590
(202) 366-9064

FHWA Resource Center – Safety and Design Team
19900 Governor's Drive, Suite 301
Olympia Fields, IL 60461
(708) 283-3545

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Page last modified on September 4, 2014.
Safe Roads for a Safer Future - Investment in roadway safety saves lives
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