Road Crew

Contact name: 
Michael Rothschild
Principal Investigator
Road Crew is the organization. We were funded by Wisconsin Department of Transportation, United States Department of Transportation
5601 Tonyawatha TrailMadison, WI 53716, USA
608 221-4644



This intervention was a field experiment that used social marketing to introduce a new ride program into three rural communities.


To reduce alcohol-related road accidents.


The Road Crew program was developed using new product development techniques and implemented by developing broad coalitions within the communities. A key feature of the program included rides to, between, and home from bars in older luxury vehicles.


Results showed a significant shift in riding/driving behavior, especially among 21 to 34-year olds, a projected 17% decline in alcohol-related crashes in the first year, no increase in drinking behavior, and large savings between the reactive cost of cleaning up after a crash and the proactive cost of avoiding a crash.

Intervention details

Type of intervention
Environmental strategy prevention, Selective prevention
Problem addressed
Alcohol, Impaired driving
Intervention setting
Target population

21-34 single men living in rural communities

Substances adressed
Strategic target group (social agents acting as intermediaries between intervention and target group)

Bar/tavern employees and owners

Intervention activities
Nightlife management
Impaired driving
Actions included:Qualitative research;Involvement of the target in the development of the program in each community;Development of a ride program;Bar posters;Local news;Use of promotional specialities with our name and phone number;All vehicles have our logo displayed prominently.
Theory/evidence behind the intervention

The theories of commercial marketing, especially those related to new product development, competition, power in relationships, exchanges, self interest, motivation opportunity ability, creating and delivering value; and behavioral economics, especially those related to decision making in hot and cool states.

Number of people needed
3-4 per community
Specific training required?
Time required to run
Rides are available 8pm - 3am on Fridays and Saturdays. Initial startup takes about 20 hours per week for several months. Maintaining the program takes 5-10 hours per week.
Other resource requirements

We pay the community coordinator. We need several limousines, cell phones, and a place to work.

Evaluation details

Evaluation type (e.g. process, outcome, cost-effectiveness)
We evaluated all actions.
Activities evaluated

The major dependent variable is a count of number of rides taken. We also looked at alcohol consumption, awareness and attitudes in the target population, the general community population, bar owner population and community leader population.

Type of evaluator (e.g. external consultant, internal evaluator)
Both internal and external
Evaluation results (Outcome evaluation)

The roads in our communities are now safer. Over several years we've kept about 140 crashes and 6 deaths from occurring. We've been collecting data for over 5 years.

Evaluation results (Cost effectiveness)

The program becomes self-sustaining within the first year, primarily from fees charged to riders. All communities currently in operation have been self sufficient for several years.

Evaluation references

Rothschild, M.L., Mastin, B. and Miller,T.W. Reducing Alcohol Related Crashes Through the Use of Social Marketing. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 38, 6, 2006, 1218-1230.

An abstract for this journal article can be found in the HNT literature section here.

Rothschild, M.L. and Karsten, C., The Road Crew Final Report. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington DC, 2003. Also available at