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

You are here

6.3 Strengthening Capacity to Set and Deliver Targets

Requirements for Effective Road Safety Performance

Critical success factors (for HICs and LMICs) include a country’s ability to:

  • analyse the current road crash situation (based on data as much as possible);
  • identify its road safety issues;
  • set meaningful road safety targets, and action plans with timelines and accountabilities to achieve them;
  • obtain the funding, activate skilled resources, and deploy effective decision-making and consultation arrangements to support intervention delivery;
  • implement effective interventions;
  • regularly review performance.

Capacity review guidance (GRSF, 2009, 2013; see Institutional Management Functions in Management System Framework and Tools) recognises the need to develop capacity over time as a country moves from weaker to stronger institutional capacity, and to progressively apply this improving capacity. This of course has implications for the effectiveness of identified short-term actions. Development and attempted delivery of a short-term strategy in circumstances where knowledge and implementation skills are undeveloped are unlikely to provide meaningful results in the establishment phase (OECD, 2008).

Establishing the organisational structures and processes of countries that have been carrying out systematic road safety management for some time will not be achieved overnight in LMICs. Bliss and Breen (2012) indicate that achieving results will require long-term political will that is translated into road safety investments that are targeted across a range of sectors and in governance and institutions, infrastructure, vehicle fleets, licensing standards, safety behaviours and the health system. These are not trivial tasks. Adequate lead time for the development of organisational and staff capability is needed.

A guide to assist nations in Africa to improve their road safety capacity in order to develop a national strategic road safety action plan is described below in Box 6.1.

Box 6.1: Case Study – Managing Road Safety in Africa: A Framework for National Lead Agencies

The problem: Africa has the highest per capita fatality rate of road fatalities in the world, and is expected to worsen by the year 2030. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the rate of road traffic fatalities in Africa at 24.1 per 100,000 people, compared with 18.5 in Asia and 10.3 in Europe. While Africa has one of the lowest road network densities, 2% of the world’s motor vehicles and 12% of the world’s population, Africa experiences 16% of the world’s fatalities. There are twice as many fatalities caused by road traffic injury as deaths from malaria. Many road traffic crash victims are poor, or pushed into poverty as a result of a traffic crash. Transportation projects to address safety are generally small and not coordinated to achieve measurable safety results.

The solution: At a conference in Ghana in 2007, African Ministers responsible for Transport and Health committed to transportation and health services improvements to prevent road crashes. In 2011, the African Road Safety Action Plan 2011-2020 was adopted and endorsed by the African Union Conference of Ministers. This Plan establishes a framework for African countries to develop a road safety management system that guides them in becoming a national lead agency for improved road safety and public health in Africa. The purpose of the framework is to increase national capacity to address road safety problems. National commitment is required to spearhead a country’s efforts in addressing road safety and champion institutional management functions.

The outcome: The framework provides a tool for preparing a national strategic road safety action plan. The framework outlined in the Plan increases a lead agency’s strategic institutional management functions to generate a results focused approach to addressing safety problems, systematic data management processes, coordination among agencies and key partners to build understanding and support for road safety, effective legislation of roads, vehicles and road users including compliance and enforcement, allocation of sufficient funding and resources for safety initiatives, public education promoting road safety, monitoring of progress, and evaluation of successes. Lead agencies can use this tool to strengthen their ability to make better investment decisions focused on safety.

Source: SSATP Africa Transport Policy Program, 2014

Further information can be found on the SSATP website available at


Box 6.2: Case Study – Improving Road Safety in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The problem: Rapid motorization in Asia and the Pacific, especially the explosive growth in motorcycle fleets, is creating serious and growing road safety problems. The problem is particularly acute among Asian developing countries, in which road accidents are now already the second most important cause of premature death for the 5-14 year age group and the leading cause of death for the 15-44 year age group, the most economically productive segment of the population. Road accidents have major impacts on the health, poverty, social development, and economies in the countries of Asia and the Pacific. In the 10 country ASEAN region, road accidents cause over 106,000 deaths and over 5.7 million injuries each year (based on 2008 data).

The solution: This project builds on previous successful work by the ADB for ASEAN countries. The following tasks are being undertaken:

(i) identify training and human resource needs across the region;

(ii) identify locations where joint train-the-trainer courses, research, and safety initiatives can be developed for application across ASEAN countries;

(iii) develop a series of train-the-trainer courses covering the key issues (e.g., motorcycle safety, data analysis, traffic police enforcement). Following initial training of the trainers in a central course, they will be assisted to run the initial in-country courses and demonstration projects to establish such courses in each country;

(iv) assist countries to develop and implement demonstration and pilot projects;

(v) develop training materials and manuals centrally by bringing key international and local ASEAN experts together to modify and adapt such materials from other countries for application in ASEAN countries; and

(vi) coordinate closely with the private sector, nongovernment organizations, and other agencies involved with road safety to maximize project effectiveness.

The outcome: The outcomes from this project are expected to include (i) strengthened capacity to monitor and analyse road accident data, (ii) strengthened capacity to implement road safety strategies, (iii) strengthened capacity to address motorcycle safety issues, (iv) improved enforcement capacity of traffic police, (v) a pipeline of road safety projects, and (vi) knowledge products disseminated publicly.

Source: ADB

Further information can be found on the ADB website available at


Strengthening Capacity through Demonstration Projects

Establishing road safety targets and investment strategies and plans is complex, requiring knowledge of existing road safety risks, awareness of what can be done, and having the capacity to effectively manage the change processes necessary within agencies to achieve integration of road safety activities.

As recommended in Institutional Management Functions in Management System Framework and Tools, the first step for LMICs in establishing their road safety activity (their establishment investment phase) will be to prepare demonstration projects rather than embark on ambitious national road safety plans and aspirational targets which are more appropriate for the growth investment phase in the medium-term.

They will need to actively build their knowledge and management capability as the first steps to giving effect to that project and to its ongoing expansion to a broader scale across the country. This experience will progressively develop the capability necessary to set future targets and supporting strategies and plans.

The use of suitable demonstration projects by LMICs is discussed in detail in Demonstration Project for the Establishment Phase in LMICs in Investment Strategy and Action Plans Implementation.

It is important to note that a demonstration project must be carefully adapted to each country. Even though the project will generate expertise it is vitally important to prepare an ongoing programme for future actions, based on each country’s capacity. In that way, a ‘permanent’ capacity can be generated in order to carry out the road safety improvements.

For HICs, demonstration projects across road safety agencies that trial innovative treatments can also be an effective way to prepare for wider roll-out. It can strengthen institutional leadership and capacity, including knowledge and delivery partnerships. Projects of this nature provide a focused opportunity; for example, the chance to trial and embed Safe System approaches within new strategies and within the practices of the road safety agencies.

Reference sources

No reference sources found.