Roads for everyone

DalTRAC's "Share the Road Nova Scotia" campaign

- October 30, 2013


Roads are for sharing.

That’s the idea behind a campaign currently underway from the Dalhousie Transporation Collaboratory (DalTRAC). This month, Share the Road Nova Scotia is calling on students and the public to join the discussion on road safety. By sharing or tweeting the “10 Days of Share” posts, anyone can win a daily prize, including a Visa gift card, iPod Nano and other prizes.

“Every day, we post something to target a different road user,” says Niki Siabanis, a master's student in the School of Planning and organizer of the campaign. “We’re just trying to put out really positive videos that encourage behaviour change in people and how they use the road.”

Links: Share the Road website, Twitter, Facebook

Sparking discussion

Sharing everything from driving tips to asking which the day of the week has the most collisions, the 10 Days of Share effort seeks to spark a discussion. “We’re giving everyone a ‘thumbs up’ for respecting the rules of the road and each other,” says Dr. Ahsan Habib, the assistant professor who oversees the DalTRAC lab. “It’s not just about road safety: it’s about promoting a feeling of safety on the road.”

DalTRAC works with civil engineers and planning students on numerous transportation projects. Born out of a yearlong research project looking into the rise of collisions across Nova Scotia, Share the Road Nova Scotia seeks to proactively address this rise.

“When you look at the figures of collisions in Nova Scotia, you see that people really take the road and what they do on it for granted: distracted walking and driving is on the rise,” says Siabanis, “I think road safety is really underplayed in our community, the more I learn in this campaign the more important I see it is to engage people in road safety discussion."

A positive take

Positive reinforcement drives the Share the Road Nova Scotia’s movement. “Generally road awareness campaigns are done showing negative messages about the risk, but ours is positive messaging," says Dr. Habib. “It’s about promoting feeling safe.”

The 10 Days of Share is just one element of Share the Road Nova Scotia’s efforts. Share the Road Nova Scotia has held community forums, attends local events and even ran a bike camp for kids during the summer. “Everyone is important in this campaign,” says Dr. Habib. “The road space is for all. It’s a shared responsibility.”

Taking an umbrella approach, Share the Road Nova Scotia is encouraging municipalities around Nova Scotia to take advantage of the research, engagement and campaign development that has been done, and adopt their own Share the Road campaigns.

“We really want the community to own the campaign,” says Siabanis. “We don’t have the infrastructure in many areas of the province yet, so education is a cheaper alternative to keeping people safe. If people know how to share the road, it will help to bring the collisions down.”

“Transportation choices touch everyone,” says Dr. Habib. “Every student and citizen has a stake in this and so they should be involved in thinking about how we can improve by joining the movement.”

Visit the Share the Road website.


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