Road Safety Management ‒ The Need for a Systematic Approach

Andras Varhelyi*
Department of Technology and Society, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

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© Andras Varhelyi; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Technology and Society, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Tel: +46 46 2224824; E-mail: Andras.Varhelyi@Tft.Lth.Se


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) 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!

Keywords: Road safety management, Combined accident data register, Exposure data, Three-dimensional analysis of road safety problems, Safety performance indicators, Monitoring of performance.