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Considering a new framework for designing public safety ‘filler’ messages on highway variable message signs: Applying the behaviour change wheel.

Mitchell, M (Peer reviewed)

Communication

2011

This paper reviews literature regarding ‘filler’ (particularly safety) messages on variable message signs (VMS), then evaluates the applicability of Michie, van Stralen and West’s behaviour change wheel for message generation using examples from Queensland. Although designed for generating health care interventions, the wheel readily extends itself to road safety. The paper concludes with a brief list of techniques for writing persuasive safety messages. This research was conducted because limited research is available on VMS safety messages or models for their generation. The literature review indicated that although controversy exists regarding the use of VMS for safety messages, more drivers would rather have the messages than blank signs; however, certain messages are seen as more useful than others. Further, VMS safety messages should not be expected to change the behaviour of all drivers but rather help a small share. The key benefit of this paper is that it proposes a comprehensive framework for generating VMS safety messages and describes strategies for writing them. Further research should be conducted on driver reactions to these messages.