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


25-26
Apr

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) workshop in Stockholm

An open seminar and workshop in Stockholm will be held on 25-26 April 2018. The workshop deals with the use of CBA as a basis for decision-making in the public sector. The workshop is organized by, among others, Professor Jan-Eric Nilsson, VTI.

LATEST NEWS


2018-02-19

Modal shift for an environmental lift?

Investigations in Sweden and other countries suggest a shift of goods transport from road to rail and waterborne transport to reach environmental and climate objectives. VTI is leading a new project to investigate how the modal shift can contribute and what...


2018-02-13

Automation and digitalisation are making rail competitive

Road transport is developing rapidly and its productivity has increased sharply. Rail transport, however, has not developed at the same rate. Automation and digitalisation are essential if rail freight in Europe is to survive.


2018-02-08

New research is creating a driverless logistics chain

The research project Born to Drive has come up with a system that allows new cars to move, without a driver, from the production line out to the parking area prior to being transported elsewhere. The vision is to automate the entire logistics chain from...


2018-02-05

VTI testing automation in EU project

VTI is leading a series of tests in a major EU project on automated driving. The first driving tests were carried out n a test track in Slovenia in December. The project will focus in part on acceptance among different groups in society, in part on...


2018-02-02

Freight transportation on road and rail analysed

Freight transport accounts for a large proportion of the emissions, noise and congestion produced by road traffic. Transporting freight in larger but fewer lorries could reduce the problem. At the same time it might entail freight being diverted from more...


2017-11-30

Millions for research into maritime transport and the environment

Maritime transport is a major source of emissions of harmful air pollutants and carbon dioxide. In a new project, a research team from the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) and the University of Gothenburg has received SEK 6.4...