Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Published Version.

Mitchell, M. (2011). Considering a new framework for designing pubic safety “filler” messages on highway variable-message signs: Applying the behaviour change wheel. Journal of the Australasian College of Road Safety, 22(4), 53-62.

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2011 HERDC submission. FoR code: 150703

© Copyright Marilyn Mitchell, 2011. Permission to archive received from the Australasian College of Road Safety.




This paper reviews literature regarding ‘filler’ (particularly safety) messages on variable message signs (VMS), then evaluates the applicability of Michie, van Stralen and West’s behaviour change wheel for message generation using examples from Queensland. Although designed for generating health care interventions, the wheel readily extends itself to road safety. The paper concludes with a brief list of techniques for writing persuasive safety messages. This research was conducted because limited research is available on VMS safety messages or models for their generation. The literature review indicated that although controversy exists regarding the use of VMS for safety messages, more drivers would rather have the messages than blank signs; however, certain messages are seen as more useful than others. Further, VMS safety messages should not be expected to change the behaviour of all drivers but rather help a small share. The key benefit of this paper is that it proposes a comprehensive framework for generating VMS safety messages and describes strategies for writing them. Further research should be conducted on driver reactions to these messages.

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Communication Commons



This document has been peer reviewed.


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