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Are drivers getting the message from traffic signs?

Improving use of technology to reduce traffic congestion

Crashes, lost loads, and other unanticipated highway obstructions quickly can lead to traffic congestion and reduced safety. Technologies such as variable message signs and radio traffic reports can help to notify drivers of problems ahead of them.

In Michigan, the Department of Transportation wants to find out how well residents understand these messages. The Department also wants to know whether these messages help drivers comply with state traffic incident management laws, such as a law requiring drivers to move their vehicles away from a lane with a stopped emergency vehicle.

Westat is part of a team working to answer these questions.

Westat is contributing our expertise in public outreach, materials development, data collection, and evaluation to this project.

Using web-based surveys and interviews we are

  • Testing how well Michigan residents understand traffic incident management laws
  • Developing more effective ways to describe current traffic problems for drivers
  • Measuring levels of public understanding and compliance

We are creating and measuring responses to different message content and format to help guide the development and delivery of future hazard notifications.

This research will help Michigan improve its use of technology to reduce traffic congestion related to traffic incidents.

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