Making knowledge exchange between theory and practice a reality: a practical model to enhance road casualty reduction on a decreasing budget

  • Published: Safer Roads 2014
  • Authors: L. Hurst, L. Hellier, P. Husband
  • Date Added: 12 Feb 2016
  • Last Update: 28 Oct 2016
  • Format: html


To use evidence-based practice to guide road casualty reduction.


Case study of Cornwall Council

Key Findings:

  • In the UK, there is a statutory requirement on local government to aid road casualty reduction. While Cornwall Council was successful in reaching their 2010 casualty reduction targets, it had no evidence to suggest which initiatives contributed to this achievement and which did not.

  • Much of the research in traffic psychology is unused in road safety, and much ‘best practice’ in road safety is based on intuition rather than evidence. Cornwall Council recognised an evidence-based approach was required to meet future targets and ensure interventions were gaining the best possible return on investment.

  • There is a framework within the UK for partnership between business and academia known as ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’ (KTP). The KTP is a government funded project that puts a recent graduate in the workplace with supervision from their employer and a university.

  • Cornwall Council used this mechanism to embed and evidence-based practice (EBP) into road casualty reduction. The approach begins with case studies of priority risk groups. The research and collision data is critically appraised and an understanding of the implications for road safety interventions, in terms of relative need and effectiveness, is developed. Change management groups are formed with road safety practitioners, engineers, and police where recommendations from the research can be embedded in practice. The groups allow evidence to be communicated effectively from researcher to practitioner, allowing a sustainable, affordable mechanism for bridging the gap between theory and practice.

  • EBP is a ‘practice supported by clear, up-to-date rationale, taking into account clients’ preferences and using your own judgement’. EBP requires three aspects: professional judgement, client preference and research evidence.

  • The results demonstrate a practical model for enhancing road casualty reduction performance on a decreasing budget. By implementing and embedding EBP, resource can be prioritised on the areas most at risk and the areas that are going to produce the best value for money.


Road safety management, Evidence, Effectiveness


A practical example of how to incorporate evidence based practice into road safety management.

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