Road safety strategies (generally called Strategic Highway Safety Plans in the USA) provide essential guidance for actions to improve road safety, but often lack a conceptual framework that is comprehensive, systems theory based, and underpinned by evidence from research and practice. This paper aims to incorporate all components, policy tools by which they are changed, and the general interactions between them. A framework of nine mutually interacting components that contribute to crashes and ten generic policy tools which can be applied to reduce the outcomes of these crashes was developed and used to assess 58 road safety strategies from 22 countries across 15 years.
The work identifies the policy tools that are most and least widely applied to components, highlighting the potential for improvements to any individual road safety strategy, and the potential strengths and weaknesses of road safety strategies in general. The framework also provides guidance for the development of new road safety strategies, identifying potential consequences of policy tool based measures with regard to exposure and risk, useful for both mobility and safety objectives.