Forecasting the public health effect of a national road safety programme

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Stefan Siegrist

A common understanding of evidence-based policy is that any new measures should have been proven to be effective. At best, these kinds of methodologically sound evaluation studies show the effect of a measure in a given situation. The results are then an essential basis for the design of a broader safety policy. However, at present there is generally little understanding of the effect of the measure in another situation, or of how it would interact with other measures in a programme. Yet, it is precisely such questions that need to be answered if the requirements of policy makers are to be met. Politicians need to be able to estimate whether the expected benefits of a programme justify the investment. Therefore, evidence-based road safety policy should not rely solely on evaluation studies of single measures and ex-post assessments of safety programmes. The method outlined here is for the ex-ante estimation of the potential of a road safety programme in reducing the number of severe and fatal injuries, i.e. the most relevant indicator from a public health point of view. Results of a case study show that the potential of the Swiss road safety programme VIA SICURA is 1/3 of fatalities and ¼ of severe injuries referring to 2010.

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