Heart Zone as a measure to influence traffic safety culture: which factors influence culture change?





Heart Zone, school road safety, traffic safety culture


Measures to influence traffic safety culture in designated areas (e.g. schools) exist in several different countries across the world. The Norwegian traffic safety scheme Heart Zone is a measure that aims to influence the traffic culture within a specific geographical area. The study examines whether four Norwegian schools have managed to establish a Heart Zone traffic safety culture, factors facilitating and impeding the implementation of Heart Zone traffic safety culture and subsequent changes in parents' traffic safety behavior. The study is based on survey data from four Norwegian schools (n = 220) and qualitative interviews (n = 19). Although the level of implementation varies, results from the interviews and the survey suggest that the schools have established Heart Zone cultures, where large proportions of the parents drop the children off at the recommended drop-off zone, when driving, are attentive to students who come walking/cycling within the Heart Zone and walk or cycle when transporting children within the Heart Zone. The Heart Zone culture is related to changes in parents' traffic safety behaviors and reductions in dangerous traffic situations. The study identifies specific factors facilitating and impeding traffic culture change, related to enclosed geographical areas like the Heart Zone, developing an analytical model that researchers and future traffic culture measures like this can learn from.


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Author Biographies

Vibeke Milch, Institute of Transport Economics, Norway

Vibeke Milch is a psychologist and a senior researcher at the Institute of Transport Economics in Oslo, Norway. She is a member of the research group 'Safety and Resilience'. Milch has been involved in several research projects on safety management and resilience, in the transport sector as well as in the oil and gas sectors. A major theme in her research concerns safety in multi-actor collaborations, and how inter-organizational mechanisms influence safety management and resilience.

CRediT contribution: Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Writing—original draft.

Tor-Olav Nævestad, Institute of Transport Economics, Norway

Tor-Olav Nævestad heads the research group ‘Safety and Resilience’ at the Institute of Transport Economics in Oslo, Norway. He has been working on projects related to safety culture, safety management and regulation among companies and authorities in the transport sector and in high-risk sectors. One of the key themes in his research has been to develop an understanding of how the safety culture concept can be applied to private and professional road users, and how this understanding can be used to develop measures aiming to improve road safety. Tor-Olav Nævestad also conducts research on resilience and disaster risk management.

CRediT contribution: Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Writing—original draft.


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How to Cite

Milch, V., & Nævestad, T.-O. (2024). Heart Zone as a measure to influence traffic safety culture: which factors influence culture change?. Traffic Safety Research, 6, e000050. https://doi.org/10.55329/nzwz4807