This literature review of traffic education programmes addresses the current practice in evaluation research, the effectiveness of programmes and their constituting components and the differences and similarities with other fields of education. The study leads to a number of conclusions which can be divided into three categories and are listed below. Conclusions about evaluation studies: - Although a large number of road safety education programmes exist, the number of programmes that is followed by thorough and ""by the book"" evaluations, is rather limited. - Very few studies use crashes as an evaluation criterion: most use intermediate variables such as knowledge, attitudes and (self-reported) safe behaviour. - The vast majority of evaluated road safety programmes have children who are not yet in their teens as their target group, and focus on the pedestrian role. - Evaluations have mainly been done in high income western countries; the findings cannot be generalized for developing countries. Conclusions about comparisons with health promotion education: - Traffic safety education has similar patterns as health promotion education. - Shortage of systematic evaluation studies hampers the progression towards effective programmes. - As in traffic safety education, primarily intermediate variables are used: variables related to a healthy lifestyle rather than to the frequency of behavioural afflictions. Conclusions about effective components: Because of the relatively large number of evaluation studies, this study has primarily analysed the 'effective components' of road safety programmes for children. - Road safety education should start as early as the age of 4-5 and needs to be continued through primary and secondary school. - Individual training is superior to group training. Group training should focus on interactions between children. - Adult-led learning and peer collaboration are powerful instruments because of the influence of social interaction on learning (model behaviour). - Small stages of practical training are effective to form a concept based on action. Both, practice and developmental theories support this statement. - Classroom instruction enriched with good demonstrations of model behaviour (e.g. by means of video, table-top models, etc) is slightly less effective than behavioural training. - Computer-supported practical training (for small groups of children interacting with each other) is effective. - No difference in effects on knowledge between training methods such as play-mat models, board game and illustrated posters.
The effectiveness of road safety education
A literature review
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