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

Terje Assum


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?


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.


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.



Shipping and the environment – research meets reality

Centre for Transport Studies (CTS) in co-operation with Ports of Stockholm invite you to the seminar Shipping and the environment – research meets reality.



Simulation of cut-in by manually driven vehicles in platooning scenarios

A study in a VTI-driving simulator has showed that a platoon will be able to handle a cut in from a manually driven car. The results of this study have recently been presented at two conferences in Japan.



The five-year anniversary of European Road Profile Users' Group (ERPUG) Forum will take place at Ramboll head quarter, Copenhagen, Denmark October 19-20, 2017.


Self-driving buses in Sweden next year?

A self-driving, fossil-free bus. This idea might become reality through a forthcoming collaborative project involving the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), Linköping University and several other participants. The project group aim...


New climate-proof solutions for hard surfaces in cities

High-density road infrastructure that emphasise maximum durability and minimum maintenance create inflexible systems, which put increased stress on urban trees and lead to increased risk for flooding. Over the past five years, the ‘Climate-proof solutions for...


VTI is preparing for automated vehicles

Automation of traffic systems will lead to major changes. The European Union’s (EU) CoEXist research project began in June 2017 with the aim of preparing cities and road operators for the introduction of self-driving vehicles. The Swedish National Road and...


Vehicle Driver Monitoring: sleepiness and cognitive load

To prevent road crashes it is important to understand driver related contributing factors, which have been suggested to be the critical reason in 94 per cent of crashes. The overall aim of the project Vehicle Driver Monitoring has been to advance the...