Road Safety Management ‒ The Need for a Systematic Approach

Andras Varhelyi
2016 The Open Transportation Journal  
In order to achieve significant improvements in road safety at the national level, there is a need for a systematic approach to road safety management with clear responsibilities and accountability. In this paper -after a review of the literature on guidelines, recommendations and research findings -twelve essential elements of such a systematic approach are pointed out, and corresponding relevant issues are discussed. These elements are: 1) Define the burden and nature of road casualties; 2)
more » ... ad casualties; 2) Gain commitment and support from decision makers; 3) Establish road safety policy; 4) Define institutional roles and responsibilities; 5) Identify road safety problems; 6) Set road safety targets; 7) Formulate a strategy and action plan; 8) Allocate responsibility for measures; 9) Ensure funding; 10) Apply measures with known effectiveness; 11) Monitor performance; and 12) Stimulate research and capacity building. The main conclusions are that: a) Monetary values of statistical life have to be established; b) The police register of accidents should be combined with the hospital register; c) Exposure data for all types of road users is necessary; d) The three-dimensional analysis of road safety problems should be employed; e) Safety performance indicators should be used; f) Only countermeasures with known effectiveness should be applied; g) Performance of countermeasures should be monitored on a yearly basis; and h) Commitment from decision makers is decisive! human errors or technology failure or organisational failure shall not lead to serious events. Non-conformity is handled promptly, professionally and continuously. When it comes to road safety management (RSM), even if there is accumulated knowledge among road safety specialists on best practice and efficient countermeasures, the question is whether decision makers have the commitment to do something, and whether they are ready to engage in a systematic work and conscious of what such a systematic project should look like. The aim of the work presented in this paper is to review the literature on guidelines, recommendations and research findings concerning road safety management at the national level, to point out essential elements for a systematic approach involving these elements, and to discuss some of the significant issues. 2. The OECD [5] road safety report defines safety management as "a systematic process aimed at reducing the number and severity of road-related crashes" (p.97). Papadimitriou & Yannis [6] in their review of the literature, conclude that road safety management systems are complex, as they include various components (structures, plans, processes, outputs, tools, etc.) which make them difficult to describe in a standardised way. Nevertheless, effective organisation of RSM is seen as a prerequisite for achieving good road safety results. The OECD [5] report identifies five main steps of planning procedure for developing and implementing road safety programmes. These main steps are: 1) Road safety visions and targets; 2) Road safety plans and programmes; 3) Best practice road safety measures; 4) Organisational roles and co-ordination of activities; and 5) Monitoring and evaluation of the effects of road safety measures. The report also refers to a number of tools available to support RSM. The WHO report [7] on road traffic injury prevention concludes with six principal recommendations for national road safety work: 1) Identify a lead agency to guide the national road safety effort; 2) Assess the problem, policies and institutional settings relating to road traffic injury and the capacity for road traffic injury prevention in the country; 3) Prepare a national road safety strategy and plan of action; 4) Allocate financial and human resources to address the problem; 5) Implement specific actions to prevent road crashes, minimize their consequences and evaluate the impact of these actions; 6) Support the development of national capacity and international co-operation. An ETSC report [8] presents a methodological approach to the effective development and implementation of national road safety policies in EU member countries. A checklist is put forward in order to help decision makers and practitioners at a national level by enabling them to assess the current road safety situation and detect potential deficiencies. The checklist considers 22 items, such as Political support and commitment; Public and private sector awareness and involvement
doi:10.2174/1874447801610010137 fatcat:mmioeoldhbgrrbra7zmpcgqbti