Multidisciplinary Safety Team (MDST) Factors of Success

Project Details







Iowa Department of Transportation
Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau

Principal Investigator
Keith Knapp

Director, Iowa LTAP

About the research

This project included a literature review and summary that focused on subjects related to team building, team/committee member motivational strategies, and tools for effective and efficient committee meetings. It also completed an online survey of multidisciplinary safety team (MDST) members that focused on methods to increase meeting attendance and the identification of factors that make MDSTs successful. The survey had a response rate of about 15 percent. Finally, three small MDST focus groups were held and the participants discussed information similar to that investigated by the online survey. The results of these three activities were similar and complementary. In general, the outcomes of all three tasks show that a well-designed agenda that has items relevant to the meeting attendees is very important. In addition, the literature, online survey, and focus group results identified other characteristics that define a good team or MDST. Some of these characteristics included effective and consistent leadership, members that are allowed to provide input and have an impact, members that are vested in the activities of the group, and a match between the interests of the members and the focus/mission/purpose of the meetings/group. Meetings that are scheduled well in advance of the meeting date, include time for networking, local safety activity discussions, hands-on activities/tasks, and/or some type of educational or informational presentation or activity also appeared to be the most desirable. Lastly, it was shown that MDSTs can thrive and be successful through various means, but the ability to focus on a specific safety issue when the group is first organized was suggested as a benefit that could be of assistance for long-term sustainability.