Association between setting quantified road safety targets and road fatality reduction

  • Published: Accident Analysis and Prevention, Volume 38, pp. 997-1105, 2006
  • Authors: : S.C. Wong , N.N. Sze, H.F. Yip, B.P.Y. Loo, W.T. Hung and H. K. Lo
  • Date Added: 10 Jul 2013
  • Last Update: 10 Jul 2013
  • Format: pdf


To assess the association between quantified road safety targets and road fatality reduction over the past two decades.


This study evaluates the effectiveness of quantified road safety targets in 14 countries during the period 1981–1999. Both aggregate and disaggregate levels of hypothesis tests are performed on data. A before and after analysis of the treatment and comparison groups is conducted.

Key Findings:

  • For a road safety strategy to be successful, it is generally believed that realistic quantified road safety targets should be set.

  • A quantified road safety target is a number or index that is set by a national or local government to reduce the number of people who are killed or injured in road traffic RTIs.

  • The role of road safety targets in achieving the safer use of roads is to provide a basis for motivating and monitoring actions to reduce death and injury in road traffic RTIs.

  • As a key component of road safety strategies, road safety targets need to be quantitative and measurable so that it can be ascertained whether the target has been achieved, and if it has not been achieved, then the extent to which the result is short of the target.

  • Quantified road safety targets have been set in a number of countries in recent decades. Most countries in Europe (such as Finland, France, The Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) and some countries in other parts of the world (including Australia, New Zealand, and the United States) have set quantified targets for the improvement of road safety, and have subsequently developed specific programs to realise these targets.

  • There is, however, little research on the evaluation of the association between the setting of road safety targets and the reduction of traffic RTIs and casualties. Although a quantified road safety target may not have a direct effect on the number of fatalities, it may serve as an effective catalyst that motivates policy makers and stakeholders to support road safety programs that are developed to meet the target.

  • The majority of countries with quantified road safety target experienced a reduction in road fatalities in this period.

  • The results show that the overall reduction in road fatalities is significant after the setting of quantified road safety targets.

  • It is envisaged that the setting of quantified road safety targets helps to raise concern about road safety in societies, encourages decision-makers to formulate effective road safety strategies, and ensures that sufficient resources are allocated to road safety programs.

  • Overall, the establishment of quantified road safety targets is found to have an appreciable association with an improvement in road safety.

  • A more comprehensive and in depth study on other relevant factors, such as level of education, driving age, driver training, and national income, along with other essential components that should be taken into account in the setting of effective road safety targets, such as vision, objectives, action plan, evaluation and monitoring, research and development, quantitative modelling, institutional framework, and funding, is necessary in the future.


Road safety targets, Modelling, RTI reduction.


Useful in highlighting that countries where road safety targets are set experience a reduction in RTIs but this cannot be quantified at present.