Further funding provided to improve seat-belt usage in the Midlands

The Road Safety Trust has provided funding to behavioural scientists So-Mo in partnership with Transport for West Midlands to evaluate the efficacy of a real-world pilot for their Message Not Received project.

Funded by The Road Safety Trust in 2020, Message Not Received, undertaken by Birmingham City Council and So-Mo, tested the hypothesis that culturally tailored and targeted messaging could improve seatbelt use in Birmingham’s Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities and in turn, reduce passenger casualty rates.

Following the success of the campaigns produced by the project against national comparators, Transport for West Midlands has funded a pilot to build on the proof of concept to broaden the geography and reach of the original project.  The additional funding from The Road Safety Trust will allow for an evaluation that will measure the impact of the Message Not Received project by understanding the reach, visibility and the behavioural change delivered by the online media campaign. This will allow the pilot to be finely tuned for further roll out in the future.

Nicola Wass, Founder and CEO of So-Mo said: “We are delighted to be in receipt of this funding. Although the behavioural sciences are increasingly recognised as the most effective way to understand and change behaviour at scale, there remains an ongoing need for rigorous evaluation of real-world application. This project not only seeks to tackle an important road risk but will also contribute to a growing body of evidence demonstrating how behavioural science-based approaches can be applied in the context of highways, mobility, and transportation”.

Sonya Hurt, CEO of The Road Safety Trust said: “Recent research has shown that seat belt usage is slipping with a corresponding impact on road deaths and severity of injury. Previous research into seatbelt use by So-Mo has shown that the picture can be far bleaker when ethnicity is taken into consideration.

“Tailored campaigns like this could prove to be powerful tools in tackling this difficult national issue. We hope that the additional funding will provide leverage to the projects momentum and make a real difference to young people’s seat belt usage and ultimately save lives.”

Since it was established in 2014, the Road Safety Trust has awarded grants worth around £5m to over 70 different projects. It is the largest road safety grant giver in the UK and funds vital research and practical interventions committed to reducing the number of people killed or injured on UK roads.

To find out more about the initial project conducted by Birmingham City Council and So-Mo visit https://www.roadsafetytrust.org.uk/small-grants-awarded/birmingham-city-council


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