June 2017

Putting behaviour change at the heart of a safe system


The 2017 Highways England Symposium on Road User Behaviour took place on 14 to 15 March 2017 at Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire. The event drew together a wide range of perspectives on behaviour as it relates to road risk, reflecting available good practice from associated domains.

Inspired by expert input from researchers, practitioners and funders and by insights shared by those working in other sectors, this paper sets out a high-level vision for a refreshed approach to behaviour change in road safety, and proposes actions that leaders in the sector can be taking now.

We begin by explaining why we think a refreshed approach is called for, and describing two revolutions we believe are driving the need for change: a revolution on our roads and a revolution in behaviour change.

The aim of this paper is not to summarise the wide-ranging and diverse perspectives shared and discussed at the event – probably an impossible task – but to offer a response to them. We’ve drawn freely on ideas from both the presentations and discussions at the event. All of the best ideas in this thinkpiece are ‘stolen goods’. Any mistakes or inanities are entirely our own.