Barriers to road safety and potentials for improvement: The case of Norway

Terje Assum

Problem

In road safety, the objective is clear, zero fatalities and zero severe injuries, i.e. the Vision Zero. While we already have the knowledge required to realise this objective, we still have not been able to do so. Why? What is the problem? Norway is among the five countries in the world with the lowest number of road fatalities per million inhabitants, a situation, at least to some degree, due to the high number of road-accident countermeasures implemented. However, many more are needed, if we are to realise the Vision Zero. Why are some countermeasures implemented and others not or only partially? As an objective, road safety is not controversial. Still, it can conflict with other objectives such as the mobility and personal freedom visible in money spent on safety vs. other objectives or in the implementation of safety measures reducing other objectives. When effective road-safety measures are insufficiently implemented or not at all, other concerns take higher priority. What are these other concerns or barriers to road safety? Is there potential for improvement?

Methods

The relevant literature and political documents were searched and studied, and a list of 25 examples of inadequate implementation was compiled. An interview guide was developed, based on the literature, official documents and the list of examples. 16 stakeholders in the field have been interviewed.

Results

Analyses of the material and the interviews revealed nine barriers to the implementation of road-safety measures and eight areas where there was some road-safety potential, corresponding well to seven more theoretical factors. The key barrier was found to be low political priority, especially in the justice sector. A main potential for improved road safety in Norway is the Vision Zero approved by Parliament as the basis for road-safety policy. Most barriers are surmountable or can even be turned into potentials. The number of road fatalities could approach zero, if there is a sufficiently strong political will to this end.

MEET US


13-14
Jun

The 6st Humanist Conference

The 6th HUMANIST Conference will take place 13-14 June 2018 in the Hague, The Netherlands. The scope of the conference covers a wide range of topics on Human Factors in Transport. Tania Willstrand and Alexander Eriksson will present their research results.

LATEST NEWS


2018-05-18

Enkät om trafiksäkerhet genomförs i 50 länder

At the Road Safety on Five Continents Conference, RS5C, one entire session presented a large survey of road users' attitudes in 38 countries. Results show large differences between countries in many areas, both regarding behavior and attitudes. A new survey...


2018-05-17

Good results with alcohol interlock program according to Swedish study

An alcohol interlock program makes it possible for drink driving offenders to continue their everyday lives. In a Swedish study most of the participants were satisfied with the program and experienced improved health. They also reported drinking alcohol more...


2018-05-16

Traffic safety in the spotlight

Today the Conference Road Safety on Five Continents (RS5C) opened in Jeju Island, South Korea. More than 220 participators have come from all over the world to present findings and learn about traffic safety. Dr. Young Tae Kim, Secretary-General of the...


2018-04-17

VTI will develop simulators for ambulance staff

VTI has initiated a pilot study for paramedics with the Centre for Teaching & Research in Disaster Medicine and Traumatology and Linköping University. The aim is to give ambulance staff the opportunity to practice critical medical tasks in a moving vehicle in...


2018-04-12

Unique electrified road opens in Sweden

The world’s first electrified road recharging the batteries of cars and trucks while driving opened in Sweden. The Swedish Minister for Infrastructure, Tomas Eneroth, was at the formal inauguration of the electrified road on April 11, 2018. VTI is one of 22...


2018-04-11

Swedish road safety spreads internationally

Sweden is a leading country in terms of road safety, and the research conducted by the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) has contributed to increased safety. VTI’s remit includes disseminating research results and keeping up to date...