Education Professionals

Expand Driver’s Education into Mobility Education

Mobility education supplements traditional driver’s education to teach multimodal and trip-planning skills in addition to driving techniques. Mobility education informs students how to do the following: ride a bike, judge the walkability of streets and neighborhoods from a pedestrian’s perspective, take and plan transit trips, account for the financial responsibility of car ownership, compare the health impacts of transportation behaviors, and consider the mobility possibilities of new technologies such as Skype and car-sharing.

Guidance
  • To better integrate mobility education into existing driver-education methods, craft mobility education into supplementary modules that can be taught either by specialized instructors or by instructional DVDs with accompanying pre-made tests
  • Build mobility education into state and national campaigns against distracted driving
  • Frame mobility choices in terms of financial responsibility: the difference between an annual $8,000 outlay for car ownership and the savings of reducing or investing that amount
  • Incorporate parental involvement into curriculum, use crash statistics involving teenaged drivers, and create a parent-student driver contract based on safety and mobility choices
  • Familiarize drivers with traffic-control devices used for traffic calming and bicycle routes
Benefits
  • Teaches all new drivers the financial, health, and environmental impacts of transportation behaviors
  • Increases familiarity with multiple modes of transportation
  • Gives drivers the perspectives of cyclists, pedestrians, and transit users with whom they share the road
Considerations
  • Reach out to law enforcement when crafting the mobility-education curriculum
  • Run mobility-education workshops and informational sessions about updated traffic laws for local law enforcement
Where to Use It
  • Private driver-training schools
  • Grant-funded programs
  • Traffic-safety education
  • Weekend workshop offerings
  • State policy initiative
  • Federal policy initiative
Professional Consensus
  • In the absence of endorsements from national associations or governmental departments, states are turning to best practices employed by other jurisdictions
Examples

While no state has fully adopted mobility education into its driver’s education curriculum to date, many states have made incremental steps toward that goal. They include:

  • Washington: The state legislature passed House Bill 2564 in 2008, which mandated the inclusion of pedestrian and bicycle safety education in the Driver’s Education curriculum, but did not fund it
  • New Jersey: As part of the Governor’s fiveyear $74-million pedestrian safety initiative, the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission, Attorney General’s Office, and the Department of Education edited the NJ Driver Manual to emphasize pedestrian safety and the responsibilities of both motorists and pedestrians, and added test questions about pedestrian-safety laws into the NJ driver examination
  • Georgia: The Georgia Department of Drivers Services rewrote and expanded the pedestrian-related content of the Georgia Drivers Manual in 2007
  • Wisconsin: The state DMV added pedestrian-safety component to its Driver’s Handbook in 2010. The Madison DOT distributed pedestrian- and bicyclesafety instructional DVDs to driver’s-ed instructors and distributed premade tests on the subject matter so that it could be easily integrated into the established curriculum. The pedestrian-safety DVD had been made by the traffic-enforcement safety department of the Madison Police Department. The Madison DOT then obtained the bicycle-focused training video from the Illinois DOT

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.