Median Man Radio PSA Wins National Award

Roadway Safety Foundation (RSF) and Michigan Department of Transportation Radio Spot Honored at National Transportation Public Affairs Workshop (NTPAW)

(Washington, DC) – The Roadway Safety Foundation (RSF) today announced that its “Median Man” public service announcement, produced in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), has won an award for “Best radio commercial or PSA with consultant” at the National Transportation Public Affairs Workshop (NTPAW).

“Median Man” is a fictional cartoon character made of high tension median cable barriers.  The 30-second radio PSA uses humor to educate the public about the safety benefits of median cable barriers now being installed on highways across the state of Michigan.  RSF and MDOT enlisted the services of Serkaian Communications of Lansing, MI to develop and produce the radio announcement.  Through a partnership with the Michigan Broadcasters Association, the median cable announcement aired 6,631 times in September, 2009 in media markets throughout the state at a value of more than $125,000.

Transportation departments from all over the country entered the annual NTPAW competition.  NTPAW is a working group of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and comprises the communication directors and communication staffs of all 50 state Departments of Transportation.  Only one prize was awarded in each category. Each entry was judged on the situation, goals and objectives, effectiveness in reaching the target audience, and achievement of measurable results.

The “Median Man” campaign was the product of a $50,000 technical assistance grant from RSF to MDOT.  In addition to the PSA, the campaign also included pre- and- post campaign polling and earned media.  Follow-up polling after only one month of airing the PSAs showed that 63.8 percent of motorists in Michigan believed that, “cable barriers have proven to save lives by stopping vehicles from crossing a median,” compared to only 56.7 percent in the pre-survey.  Nearly 68 percent of respondents believed that they will be safer as a result of cable barriers, an increase from 62 percent in the pre-survey.

“We are thrilled that ‘Median Man’ is being recognized by the nation’s top transportation public relations experts,” said Greg Cohen, Executive Director of the Roadway Safety Foundation.  “This award proves what we have known all along:  the public can and will be engaged in roadway safety issues if presented to them in a unique and creative way.  ‘Median Man’ successfully made the issue of the lifesaving benefits of median cable barriers one worth talking about.”

Median cable barriers are longitudinal barriers that consist of steel wire ropes mounted on weak posts that are used to separate opposing traffic on a divided highway.  They are designed to redirect vehicles striking either side of the barrier.  Median cable barriers can significantly reduce the occurrence of cross-median crashes and the overall severity of median-related crashes.

RSF is the only national organization solely dedicated to reducing deaths by improving the physical characteristics of America’s roadways — design and engineering, operating conditions, removal of roadside hazards, and the effective use of safety features. RSF works to attain its goals by building awareness through media campaigns and outreach activities, developing educational materials and forming roadway safety partnerships between the private and public sectors.

For additional information on RSF please visit or go to to hear the winning announcement.   Additional information on Michigan’s use of median cable barrier, including a video news release, brochure and other materials can be found at