In the 2001 White Paper on European transport policy, the European Commission (EC) adopted an ambitious mid-term strategic objective, namely to reduce the number of road fatalities in the EU by half by the year 2010. It supports the realisation of pan-European road safety campaigns to contribute to this objective.
Consequently, the EC wished to provide powerful and innovative guidelines to design, implement and evaluate road safety campaigns to improve future campaigns. The evaluation tool had to be based on a methodology capable of isolating the effects of a campaign among effects interfering from other parallel measures and had to focus on the direct impact sought, which was a reduction in the number of persons killed and injured in traffic.
There was a large body of research on the effect of mass media campaigns available that allowed formulating best practices for designing and evaluating campaigns. Several studies had focussed on road crashes as outcome measure but the majority was aiming at measuring perception, acceptation and notoriety of campaigns (cf. the SARTRE project).
However, there seemed to be an urgent need for evaluation research focussing on isolating the effect of road safety mass media campaigns on the number of road crashes and other outcome measures (for example Road Safety Performance Indicators like seatbelt wearing rates or the number of drink drivers, that were being developed in the EU SafetyNet project) from the effect of other supporting activities like enforcement.
Availability of clear scientific information both on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the isolated effect of road safety mass media campaigns was a prerequisite to design future campaigns in the most effective and optimal fashion as possible. An evaluation tool aiming at producing such information was lacking while it could in turn lead to another useful supporting tool to design campaigns in the best possible way.
The CAST project was assembled to meet the demand for such powerful and innovative guidelines to design, implement and evaluate road safety campaigns that could be used by the Member States, by the EC for its own campaigns (or campaigns financed by the EC) and by other stakeholders. The specific objectives of CAST were:
- State of the art of the psychology of drivers and acceptability of measures aimed at enhancing road safety, i.e. studying and summarising the underlying theoretical road user models;
- Proposals for variables to be measured as integrating parts of campaign evaluation;
- Inventory of evaluation methodologies for road safety campaigns in the EU and beyond;
- A powerful and innovative tool for fieldworkers and policy makers to evaluate the effectiveness of a single road safety campaign. The quality of the evaluation tool will be assessed on a real campaign;
- A powerful and innovative manual for fieldworkers and policy makers to design and to implement effective and cost-effective road safety campaigns;
- Designing and implementing a complete pan-European campaign to support the implementation of a new measure to improve road safety;
- Provision of an information system to serve as a gateway for the information gathered together within the project (CAST-website).
The CAST project was fundamentally oriented to support the need for effective road safety campaigns and the need for practical tools for fieldworkers. CAST will encourage the proper design and evaluation of road safety mass media campaigns in all EU countries. This was achieved by applying the research results through validation and demonstration activities. The activities of the CAST project are as follows:
Research and Development activities:
- State-of-the-art of the psychology of drivers and acceptability of measures aimed at enhancing road safety, i.e. studying and summarizing the underlying theoretical road user models;
- Listing a typology for road safety campaigns in the EU and beyond;
- Powerful and innovative guidelines for fieldworkers and policy makers to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a single road safety campaign;
- Powerful and innovative guidelines for fieldworkers and policy makers to design and to implement road safety campaigns that are effective and cost-effective. This manual consists of clear guidelines for best practises regarding each step involved when designing and implementing campaigns (from conception over implementation to evaluation).
- Designing and implementing a complete pan-European campaign to support the implementation of a new measure to improve road safety.
The project was led by the Belgian Road Safety Institute and included all of the major EU groups with skills and experience of the subject of road safety campaigns. The broad objective of this project was to establish a temporary structure that will bring together relevant expertise within the EU. This formation was fundamentally oriented to supporting the policy needs of the EC, for instance the need for effective road safety campaigns aimed at enhancing traffic safety and the need for ready-to-use evaluation and design tools for fieldworkers. This is achieved by applying the research results through validation and demonstration activities in several Work Packages. It was the specific intention that results from the activities encompassed within the network are publicly accessible using the CAST-website. Dissemination forums and workshops are also a key feature of the activity, addressing policy makers and field workers as the main target group.