A road safety information system: from concept to implementation

Contribution to the Road Safety Training Course of the World Bank, 1 May 2001, Washington D.C.


Wegman, Fred



It is a proven fact that road safety problems are not unsolvable: what is man-made can also be unmade by man. This leads to questions such as which priorities to set, which measures to take, which effects to expect, what costs are involved, and how these can be financed. In order to be able toanswer all these questions, data, knowledge, and information are needed to give a comprehensive and objective picture of the road safety problems and of the effectiveness and efficiency of potential road safety measures. Aroad safety information system comprises all the relevant data. A road safety information system can be visualized by a pyramid construction with four layers. At the basic, bottom level the ‘delivery' of policy (programmes, action plans, etc.) can be found. The delivery of policy should lead to certain changes in road traffic. These changes are described in terms of safety performance indicators, the next level. The purpose of this level is to be able to interpret better the road safety developments and to understand better the impact of policy interventions. The next level contains features of accident and victims, based on the police registration of accidents. The top level of the pyramid contains data that expresses (in which ever way) the costs of accidents to society. Between all four levels, causal linkages should be established. An example of a road safety information system is the one developed in the Netherlands. This system aims to support rational decision-making by providing user-friendly access to current, relevant and qualified information which can be easily processed in e.g. documents and spreadsheets. The Dutch information system consists of two components: a PC application (to be transformed into an Internet-application) and an information / help-desk facility. A road safety information system can play a crucial role in designing, implementing and monitoring an effective and efficient road safety policy and creating a sound basis for co-operation between all key actors in the field of road safety.

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