Road Safety Manual
A manual for practitioners and decision makers
on implementing safe system infrastructure

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5.1 Introduction

Comprehensive safety data is required for effective road safety management. Safety data is essential for an evidence-based approach, particularly in producing results-focused strategies, action programmes and projects; identifying key crash types and locations; diagnosing the causes of serious and fatal injury in road traffic crashes; selecting treatments; and monitoring and evaluating progress. The establishment and support of data systems is specifically identified as part of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action, with Pillar 1 (Road Safety Management) highlighting the importance of this activity (UNRSC, 2011).

Crash data is a key type of safety data, which can provide a valuable source of information to assist in road safety management. However, this is only one type of data required for the effective management of road safety. Crash data needs to be supplemented by other information, including road inventory and survey data of key behaviours, enforcement data, road network and vehicle fleet safety, and emergency and medical system quality. This data is important in providing intermediate measures of safety. In LMICs where crash injury databases are not fully established or operational, such survey data is particularly important for the measurement and targeting of safety problems. Road safety management capacity reviews in LMICs indicate weak capacity for identification and measurement of road safety problems. As such, there is a need to build capacity to improve road safety data collection, storage, analysis and sharing.

This chapter provides information on the types of data required to effectively manage safety; the establishment of data systems; and the collection and use of this data. It also provides guidance on combining the different types of safety data to manage road safety more effectively.

Uses of this data can be found throughout this manual, including on:

Much of this chapter discusses the effective management of safety data at network level (e.g. for the whole country). However, it is recognised that establishment of a national data source (although essential) may be some way off for some countries. At the very least, the information in this chapter should be used to commence the collection of data on high risk routes, including through corridor and area demonstration projects (see Road Safety Targets, Investment Strategies Plans and Projects).

As indicated elsewhere in this manual, the focus for effective road safety management is on the elimination of death and serious injury (both of which are defined in Identifying Data Requirements), and this is also where greatest efforts should be made in the collection of safety data. Information on fatal and serious injuries, and the crash types (such as those identified in The Safe System Approach) and factors that lead to such injuries, should form the highest priority in data collection. However, there are also important uses for data on minor injuries and even non-injury crashes, and such information should also be collected where possible.

How do I get started?

Countries must assess what safety-related information they already collect, who the key stakeholders (collectors and users) are; how this data is used; and what further information is required. Identifying Data Requirements and Establishing and Maintaining Crash Data Systems discuss these issues.

Countries must commence collection of ‘final outcome’ injury data (especially fatal and serious injury data). Initially this may come from high risk routes or corridors (usually high volume national roads). This is discussed in Establishing and Maintaining Crash Data Systems.

Countries must also start collecting ‘intermediate outcome’ data or information on performance indicators (see Identifying Data Requirements). Information on road and roadside elements is a high priority, and can be used to identify problems and solutions; even in the absence of detailed crash data (see Non Crash Data and Recording Systems). Other intermediate data includes compliance data (such as speed, drink-driving and helmet wearing rates; Non Crash Data and Recording Systems). This data can be used to identify issues and solutions, as well as in the broader management of road safety outcomes.


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