How can we help drivers and cyclists understand each other better? What impact does visual communication have on road safety? Does personalising communication make it more effective? This research project for Master of Design studies sought to answer questions like these.
The issue of road safety, particularly for more vulnerable road users such as cyclists, has been tackled in various ways by governments, transport organisations, academic researchers and road safety campaigners. Although road infrastructure and education play a significant part in safety, it seems a fundamental cause of concern is the attitudes of road users themselves.
This research project looked at what caused conflicts between different road users, focusing on people driving cars and riding bicycles. It investigated the strategies that have been used to minimise conflict, and the factors that affect driver/cyclist attitudes.
The project included the design and testing of a communication response to help address the problem. This response, which was designed following focus group research, was in the form of a prototype interactive story. Based on a simple plot – going on a journey to see someone – the story allowed people to select responses to scenarios and thus shape the path they followed. Feedback from the testing stage showed the story had some impact on people’s attitudes to other road users. You can read more about the project here.