ABUSE OF DISABLED PARKING: EXPLORING PERSUASIVE MULTIMEDIA AS AN ATTITUDE FORMATION STRATEGY

The abuse of disabled parking spaces has been a problem ever since disabled parking came into existence. There are several types of abuse of disabled parking spaces. The most well known type occurs when a car parks in a space without an appropriate permit. A second type occurs when a person parks with an appropriate permit, but does not have a disability, such as when a family member of a person with a disability borrows their permit to park. The third, and most severe type of abuse, is the fraudulent creation of a permit in order to park illegally. (Edward, Suzanne and Jeremy, 2003).

A behavior study conducted by Cope and Allred (1990) explored the rationale of the abuse found the benefit of convenience appears to be the most prevalent reason that people will violate the handicap parking laws. The finding was then strengthened by Anna (2002). In her study, she found the only variable reported by violators as a reason for their decision to violate disabled parking law was convenience.

Past research shows that inappropriate use of handicapped parking spaces occurs frequently, with consistent reports indicating the majority of cars parked in these reserved spaces are parked there illegally (Cope & Allred , 1990). In an experiment designed to determine the frequency of violations of handicapped parking spaces Taylor (1998) found that rates of violations were high in both urban (76.3%) and town (44%) locations.

In a 13-hour observational study by Little and Marini (1995) which took place in the parking lot of a local mall and discount store in a town of 50,000 residents, 135 vehicles were observed using the handicapped parking spots. 91 of the 135 (67%) were considered to be abusers. In term of gender, Little and Marini (1995) found the abuses were committed by equal numbers of males and females (49% and 51% respectively). The study also found that generally many of the abuses were committed by those who in the 30-40 of age group.

In order to prevent the abuse of disabled parking, researchers have conducted several observational studies to experiment with different deterrents of disabled parking abuse, most of which involve the use of contingent punishment by police enforcement, policies intervention (Scottish Government Social Research, 2007) or antecedent strategies by the use of signs (Cope, Allred and Morsell, 1991). The result found there was no single effective method to curb the issue. Some of the proposed methods require large expenditure of money and modification to the existing parking lot system which are not favored by the premises owner. A more holistic and effective approach need to be invented in order to reduce the problem.

Previous studies suggest that attitude is one of the root causes to this problem. Base on the justification, intervention measure to minimize the abuse of disabled parking need to focus on the attitude formation of the public toward the right of disable person to use their special parking lot without interference. One of the emerging technologies in the attitude formation is Persuasive Technology. Persuasive Technology refers to how technology is designed to change user attitudes or behavior through persuasion and social influence (Fogg 2003). The technology uses computing products from websites to mobile phone software designed to change what people believe and what they do.” (Fogg 2003).

A study titled Abuse of Disabled Parking: Exploring Persuasive Multimedia as an Attitude Formation Strategy by Mohamed Zamri Mohd Zain (2011) try to address the issue in our local Malaysia context. Using learning and persuasion approach, the study has produced a persuasive multimedia aiming to form a positive attitude toward disabled person in order to minimize the rate of disabled parking abuse. The theoretical foundation of the study was based on a tripartite attitude model from Eagly and Chaiken (1993). According to Eagly & Chaiken (1993), attitudes refer to an individual’s propensity to evaluate a particular entity with some degree of favorability or no favorability. Evaluation can be overt or covert and may encompass aspects of beliefs and thoughts (cognitions), feelings and emotions (affects), and intentions and overt behavior. By stimulating the degree of favorability of individual’s propensity into a favorable state, a positive attitude toward disabled person can be formed, thus the problem of disabled parking abuse will be reduced.

Stimulation of favorability of individual’s propensity was carried out by a persuasive multimedia. The persuasive multimedia was developed using Principle of Social Learning draws from Persuasive Technology as learning strategy at macro persuasion level, and modality and redundancy principles draw from Multimedia Learning Principles as design strategy at micro persuasion level. In order to measure the effectiveness of the persuasive multimedia, 93 respondents were selected in a 2×2 quasi experimental research design for experiment. Attitude components of affective, cognitive and behavioral were measured using adapted instrument from the Multi Dimensional Attitudes Scale toward Persons with Disabilities (MAS).

Result of the study shows that the persuasive multimedia which designed based on Social Learning Theory at macro persuasion level is capable of forming positive attitude toward disabled person. The cognitive component of the attitude found to be the most responsive component. In term of design strategy at the micro persuasion level, modality found to be the most significant strategy compare to redundancy. While males are more responsive to the persuasive multimedia compare to females.

The research journal have been published in International Conference on Computer Science, Engineering & Technology ( ICCSET ) Zurich , Switzerland, 2012. The proceedings is available @ International Journals of Information Technology and Computer Science

( IJITCS ) ( ISSN No : 2091 http://www.ijitcs.com ) for download.

by Mohamed Zamri Mohd Zain (Pejabat Projek Zon Utara)

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