Research on road safety education

Students on footpath.

Find out how road safety education can align with what is known about effective teaching and learning.

The latest paper is a two-page look at the learning design behind the curriculum resources available on this website.

Pam Hook and Mary Chamberlain, both highly experienced educators, contributed three of the papers below.

Pam and Mary provide insights into the evidence base for road safety education that works, principles of good learning design, and what effective teaching and learning with a road safety context looks like in New Zealand primary and secondary schooling.

They draw on case studies of New Zealand teachers at work plus educational and road safety research.

Effective learning design behind curriculum resources

This paper provides an outline of the learning design behind curriculum resources published by the NZ Transport Agency. It examines how these resources support a shift in education towards socially constructed learning. Includes commentary by Pam Hook on catalysts for personalised learning and Rosemary Hipkins on how rich contexts help learning.
Published October 2015

Transport as a context for active citizenship

Pam Hook writes about how the safe road system is used as a context for active citizenship in the NZ Transport Agency’s road safety education resources. With their ‘strengths-based’ approach to road safety education, these curriculum resources engage young people in thinking and acting together to find and manage opportunities and challenges for roads and road users in their local communities.

This paper summarises the thinking behind design for pedagogy that matters.
Published November 2014.

Authentic learning trumps fear tactics

Mary Chamberlain writes about how teachers are using NZ Transport Agency secondary curriculum resources. These resouces support citizenship education across learning areas, with a theme of sharing the road safely.

Innovative New Zealand secondary teachers are supporting students to gain both deep subject knowledge and a new view of being a road user at the same time. How and why are they doing this? This paper discusses these questions and proposes that more secondary teachers consider voluntarily including road safety as an authentic context for learning in the subjects they teach.Mary Chamberlain
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Changing Mental Models: How recent developments in teaching and learning can be applied to road safety education in schools

Pam Hook, Hook Education and Mary Chamberlain, Evaluation Associates review recent approaches to road safety education and outline what is effective.

Most road safety education (RSE) programmes lack evidence that either their design or their impact is effective. While some delivery methods and resources may increase knowledge or skills, any such gains often fail to be translated into changes in attitudes and behaviour.

Recent developments in learning theory are changing approaches to RSE in schools. NZ Transport Agency has used new knowledge about effective learning to inform the design of the delivery methods and resources of school-based RSE. This paper summarises the understandings about effective teaching and learning that underpin this promising approach.

Also available:
Two page summary of Changing Mental Models (PDF, 127 KB)

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Whole school approach

The NZTA encourages schools to support and enable road safety education across three areas: the school curriculum, the school ethos and organisation, and community partnerships.

This whole-school approach draws on the evidence base of a research project from the Western Australia state government department School Drug Education and Road Aware (SDERA):

SDERA's set of principles for best practice in school road safety education:

The researchers found embedding road safety education in a school curriculum provides timely, ongoing education that is developmentally appropriate. Student-centred interactive activities support and develop not only knowledge and skills but also attitudes, motivations and behaviours that contribute to road safety.

Follow NZ Transport Agency's board Research for road safety education on Pinterest.

Teaching and Learning references

Some sources for the research by Pam Hook and Mary Chamberlain are listed below.

Dragutinovic N and Twisk D (2006) The Effectiveness of Road Safety Education. A Literature Review. Leidschendam, The Netherlands: SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research. Retrieved 15 April 2012 from

European Commission, Directorate General for Transport and Energy (2005) Rose 25: Inventory and Compiling of a European Good Practice Guide on Road Safety Education Targeted at Young People. Retrieved 17 April 2012 from

Hattie, J (2012) Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN

Leadbeater, C (2009) The Art of With. An original essay for Cornerhouse, Manchester. Retrieved from 15 April 2012 from

McKenna, F (2010) Education in Road Safety Are we getting it right? RAC Foundation, UK. Report 10/113

Ministry of Education (2007) The New Zealand Curriculum for English-medium Teaching and Learning in Years 1–13. Wellington: Learning Media

Ministry of Transport Te Manatu Waka (2010) Review of the Effectiveness of Road Safety Education for Young People in New Zealand. Report by Cognition Education Limited.

National Road Safety Committee (2008) Safer Young Drivers: A Guide to Best Practice Education. Retrieved from

Newmann, F (1986) Priorities for the future: Toward a common agenda. Social Education 50(4), 240–250.

Raftery, S J and Wundersitz, W L N (2011) The Efficacy of Road Safety Education in Schools: A Review of Current Approaches. CASR Report Series. CASR077. South Australia: Centre for Automotive Safety Research, University of Adelaide

SDERA (2009) Principles for School Road Safety Education: A Research Summary. Government of Western Australia, School Drug Education and Road Aware. Retrieved 6 June 2012 from

SUPREME (n.d.) Summary and Publication of Best Practices in Road Safety in EU Member States project. Retrieved 15 April 2012 from

Tingvall C and Haworth, N. (2000) Vision Zero: An ethical approach to safety and mobility. Paper presented to the 6th ITE International Conference Road Safety & Traffic Enforcement: Beyond 2000, Melbourne, 6–7 September 1999

Wright, N (2010) e-Learning and implications for New Zealand Schools: A Literature Review.Retrieved 10 April 2012 from