The expenditure on preventing road casualties


Wijnen, W.



Improving road safety means that money must be spent on the prevention of road crashes and injuries. This expenditure gives an indication of the efforts spent on improving road safety and how these efforts relate to road safety as a social problem. Information about expenditure on road safety (or: prevention costs) is also required for cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analyses and for comparison with the expenditure in other policy areas. Until now, however, there has been very little information about this expenditure at the country level, not to mention at a regional or global level. Nor has an internationally accepted method for the estimation of road expenditures been available until now. This paper presents a method to estimate expenditure on road safety, including government expenditure as well as expenditure of private individuals and companies. The definition of road safety expenditure as well as related concepts are discussed. A classification of prevention cost items and actors that spend money on road safety is presented, and methods and data sources that are required to estimate the expenditures are discussed. The paper then presents the results of a study into the road safety expenditure in the Netherlands, in which the method was applied. The expenditure on road safety was found to amount to 2.3 to 3.1 billion Euro in 2007, or 0.4% to 0.5% of the gross domestic product. The largest cost items concern vehicle safety (1.2 to 1.6 billion Euro), enforcement (600 to 700 million Euro) and infrastructure (350 to 500 million Euro). Other prevention costs, among which education, research and policy making, are relatively limited. The major part of the expenditure was made by governments: approximately 1 billion Euro. Private individuals spent 900 million and companies 400 million Euro. In comparison with the costs due to road traffic crashes in the Netherlands (12 billion Euro in 2007) the expenditure on the prevention of road traffic crashes is relatively low. Effective (extra) road safety measures can therefore save costs that exceed the costs of the measures themselves. This is confirmed by a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of the implementation of the Sustainable Safety vision in the Netherlands during the period 1998-2007.The paper finally recommends to develop an international standard method to estimate road safety expenditures, and to investigate the expenditures in other countries to allow making international comparisons.

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Proceedings of the 24th World Road Congress Proceedings: Roads for a Better Life: Mobility, Sustainability and Development




26-30 September 2011, Mexico City