Evidence-based and data-driven road safety management

  • Published: IATSS Research, Volume 39, Issue 1, July 2015
  • Authors: F. Wegman, H.Y. Berg, I. Cameron, C. Thompson, S. Siegrist, W. Weijermars
  • Date Added: 12 Feb 2016
  • Last Update: 12 Feb 2016
  • Format: pdf


To explore the experiences of using an evidence-based and data-driven approach to road safety management.


To use four case studies to assess the effect on road safety management

Key Findings:

  • Over the past decades, road safety in highly-motorised countries has made significant progress. Although we have a fair understanding of the reasons for this progress, we don’t have conclusive evidence for this. A new generation of road safety management approaches has entered road safety, starting when countries decided to guide themselves by setting quantitative targets (e.g. 50 per cent fewer casualties in ten years’ time).

  • The experiences of four jurisdictions (Western Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland) were examined to understand how road safety management is approached.

  • Setting realistic targets, designing road safety strategies and action plans to achieve these targets and monitoring progress have resulted in more scientific research to support decision-making and improved the quality of decisions.

  • Ex-post and ex-ante evaluations are critical to further underpin road safety management decisions.

  • Transferability of research results in road safety (external validity) deserves further research.

  • High-quality road safety data and statistics are essential for road safety management.

  • As road safety research and road safety management become more international, it is recommended to pay attention to the harmonisation of definitions and data collection procedures. This will allow for better international comparison and, as a consequence, for facilitating the jurisdictions in learning from each other. Three areas deserve special attention:

    • Estimation of costs – the need for standardisation of the format of the cost estimates of the socioeconomic impact of road crashes

    • Measuring exposure (to risk) – allowing it to be made clear if changes in casualties are due to lower exposure or lower risk.

    • Including high-quality data on (serious) injuries, next to estimates on crash fatalities – linking hospital and police data to increase the quality of injury data and quantifying under-reporting.

  • Clear indications that decision makers are willing to accept results from scientific research were found.


Looking at international best practice on improving the quality of road safety management approaches


Road safety management, Evidence, Policy, Leadership