City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Michigan Department of Transportation
Education, Behavior Change
Keeping the roads safe for motorists and bicyclists.
Starting in 2010, Grand Rapids — Michigan’s second-largest and fastest-growing city — committed itself to multimodal transportation and becoming more bicycle friendly. Unfortunately, at the same time, the city reported the second-highest incidence of fatal bike crashes in the state. The new infrastructure and city ordinances were creating confusion and resentment among both motorists and bicyclists.
The “Driving Change” campaign was built to help save lives and improve the relationship among all road users.
The relationship between drivers and bicyclists was broken.
“Share the road” messaging held no meaning. A culture of blame existed between motorists and bicyclists, making it difficult to reach either group. Messaging was needed to show both sides had a responsibility to keep each other safe on the road.
There are two sides to every story.
We invited drivers and bicyclists to understand each other’s point of view. We focused on delivering key rules for motorists and bicyclists while they were driving or riding.
Billboards were strategically placed in high-crash areas featuring messages relevant to the location (e.g., “Don’t ride on sidewalks,” “Leave 5ft when passing bikes,” etc.).
Messages were placed on the back of buses to target motorists while they were in traffic and thinking about driving.
Everything works better when we work together.
The key to better communication is providing targeted information.
Digital targeting delivered specific safety rule content to groups based on their online habits.
Social media conversations were fueled by moderated discussions about new traffic safety rules that were personalized to both drivers and riders.
Visitors to the website were identified as either a motorist or bicyclist and content was delivered accordingly.
We organized a news conference featuring city and law enforcement officials to launch the campaign and show their commitment to keeping both motorists and bicyclists safe in Grand Rapids.
Over 4,000 bike lights were given away to the press, partners and advocates along with toolkits containing a poster, brochures highlighting rules and a unique flash drive with campaign materials.
“Driving Change” delivered across multiple metrics. Post-campaign metrics showed increased awareness of rules and responsibilities and a significant decrease in crashes and fatalities.
Of new 5-foot passing rule
In fatal or serious injury for summers 2016-2018 vs. three previous years
+30% rise in belief
That bicyclists and drivers are respectful of each other’s right to the road
The “Driving Change” Campaign is the winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award in Traffic Safety
–Awarded by the Governor's Traffic Safety Advisory Committee