The Standing Committee, traffic psychology

Since the year 1993 the former Task force traffic psychology, today a Standing Committee, has been focusing on the following topics: 

1. Role of traffic psychology

Traffic psychologists should provide psychological knowledge to agents of the traffic system.

2. Main working areas

Several hundreds of traffic psychologists in Europe deal with drivers´ diagnostics and driver improvement, both in connection with drivers´ li­censing. There are many serious arguments to support this work of traffic psychologists, to improve and assure quality, and to enhance inter­disciplinary cooperation in the area (with driving schools, physicians, etc.). 

3. New areas

"Traffic is behaviour". Therefore the role of psychology for the understanding of behaviour in traffic becomes more obvious to most people. Ongoing and future activities of traffic psychologists should deal with

  • Infrastructure
  • Vehicle construction
  • User compatible new technologies
  • Societal and cultural preconditions and determinants
  • etc. 

It is the firm belief of the committee that psychologists can and should play and important role in the work towards a safe and sustainable transportation system and to promote this aim the Standing Committee has formulated a number of goals. 

The scope and main tasks of EFPA Standing Committee Traffic Psychology

  1. To formulate common guidelines for the practice of Traffic and Transport Psychology in Europe

  2. Harmonise proposals for a curriculum for education in Traffic and Transport Psychology and what counts as equivalent qualifications across Europe
  3. Clarify and improve the structure and delivery of Traffic and Transport Psychology across Europe, involving networking with other psychologists beyond EFPA and where appropriate with medical doctors
  4. Act as a voice to promote Traffic and Transport Psychology in Europe



Today's working areas

Traffic behaviour is a part of daily behaviour when people are moving to different places for different activities. For the society this is connected to big problems: People normally behave in such ways that both safety and sustainability are threatened.

This may be related to a number of different factors like:

  • Infrastructure – e.g. misleading information
  • Travel mode-characteristics – e.g. provocative vehicle design
  • Social characteristics – e.g. media trivialising effects of speeding
  • Communication characteristics – e.g. road user interaction causing bad feelings
  • Individual characteristics – e.g. values, attitudes and habits promoting risk behaviour

How behaviour is influenced by impulses from these areas is up to psychologists to deal with – psychology is a discipline that deals with mental processes and behaviour. “Dealing with” involves both analyses (for understanding of mental processes) and treatment (taking measures that influence mental processes and behaviour).



Some immediate tasks have been identified

Traffic psychologists will provide the EU omission with expertise within the traffic psychology area.

It is also of great importance for Traffic Psychologists to take part in discussions of various topics aiming for a safe and sustainable transportation in Europe like:

  1. Effects of screening of aging drivers
  2. The use and usefulness of Demerit point systems.
  3. Education and training of drivers

Finally, the standing committee should cover all European countries and therefore we invite national representatives from all EFPA countries to join the Standing Committee Traffic Psychology.