Behaviour change, citizen engagement and web 2.0: The quest for safer roads
Academic Conferences Limited
Business and Law
The paper reports research into civic engagement with road safety in Western Australia. It was initiated by the WA government's discussion paper titled 'Towards Zero - Getting There Together' outlining WA's next road safety strategy. This stressed the importance of engaging the general public in realising road safety objectives. Two aspects of the above were of interest to this research. First, seeking engagement of the public on what has become an emotional subject in the WA community (the road toll is dramatically increasing) and second, using Web 2.0 approaches to initiate engagement. In the first stage of the research, the author adopted the role of normative theorist (Coplin et al, 2002) by identifying the Transtheoretical Model of Change (TTM) to initiate behavioural change among the public towards engaging with the topic of road safety and Web 2.0, or so-called social software, to achieve online engagement. The second stage of research consisted of dialogical action (Martensson and Lee, 2004) between the author and the West Australian Office of Road Safety (ORS) for the purpose of developing the conceptual and methodological basis for implementing such engagement. Discussions indicated that a change in the ORS website site strategy, from a traditional e-government perspective to a citizen-centric, web 2.0 based perspective, was required. A noticeable change is the increased significance of data management, in addition to the current information management, for the reason that data is the new 'infoware', and the adoption of web 2.0 technology as the means to achieve citizen engagement. The completed research provides the basis to potentially change citizens' attitudes to road safety and to enhance the ability of ORS to effectively meet its mission of reducing deaths on WA roads.