Both strategies and actions are investment plans. However, Austroads (2013) notes that there is a considerable difference between countries as to what is included in a strategy document and what is included in action plans. It notes that one key point of difference is the level of detail on specific measures. Some include greater detail within the strategy, some leave detail to the action plans, while others provide detail for the initial period of the strategy (e.g. the first two years), but rely on action plans (reviewed perhaps every two years) to supply detail for later stages of the strategy. It concludes that there is no right answer as to which is the best approach on this issue. The important point is that the strategy should allow enough flexibility to address any specific problems that arise as the strategy unfolds (for instance, in light of new information on potential problem groups), changes in the political environment (including changes in funding or priorities), or with the emergence of new techniques with which to address risk.
Investment strategies and actions need to be adopted to support improved road safety performance and the achievement of targets – in the short-term (one to three years), the medium-term (three to ten years) as well as in the long-term (beyond ten years). For LMICs, steady progress through demonstration projects is the recommended option for the short-term, with or without an aspirational (notional) short-term target.
For both LMICs and HICs, thoughtful investment plans and strategies will be essential to achieve steady progress towards medium-term targets and eventually to move further towards the ultimate long-term goal (see The Road Safety Management System). An understanding of the relationship between investment phases and strategy timeframes is necessary.
The establishment (short-term timeframe) phase of road safety investment planning focuses on building core capacity to enable effective targeted road safety performance to begin and grow. The two key purposes of activity in this phase should be:
Tasks to be accomplished in this phase may include development and implementation of necessary data systems, tools and guidelines and a strengthened legislation to be in place in time to support later implementation phases.
In the growth (medium-term timeframe) investment phase, key priorities are:
In the consolidation (long-term) investment phase, key priorities are
As stated above, action plans and investment plans can deal with different timeframes (short-term, medium-term, long-term). However, a definition of some aspects is essential, as they are important for the success of the plans in any timescale:
The challenge in LMICs is to achieve the preconditions necessary to deliver the planned outcomes. This usually requires a number of years of effort. Road safety improvement is a continuous process requiring ongoing commitment.