Road Safety Manual
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6.8 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. Box 6.6 outlines the high-level objectives of Safe System demonstration projects.


The generic high-level objectives of demonstration project programmes are to:
  • target road safety results in selected high-risk, high-volume roads/areas for the long-term and the interim;
  • provide dimensions for new quantitative target-setting, business cases, roll-out;
  • provide opportunity, focus and mechanisms for policy development and policy pilots;
  • aid institutional strengthening, especially lead agency delivery, coordination and multi-sectoral partnership working, monitoring and evaluation, and knowledge transfer;
  • enhance political, professional and public acceptability of important interventions.

Source: GRSF(2013).


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.

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.


Road Safety demonstration projects could be multi-sectoral activities on selected road corridors or in specific urban areas, and they could also include selected jurisdiction-wide road safety policy reviews. All require coordinated action, by and across the road safety agencies, but with projects at a smaller and more manageable scale than for the complete country or for all potential policy reviews. Note that the term ‘demonstration project’ is sometimes used to describe a small-scale trial of a specific treatment type (e.g. a new innovative treatment). Advice on these and other lower cost approaches is provided elsewhere in this manual (see from Infrastructure Safety Management: Policies, Standards, Guidelines and Tools).

Capacity needs to be progressively developed, with coordination and decision-making mechanisms agreed to between the road safety agencies, and then successfully introduced and experienced on a day-to-day basis. Links up to decision-making at the political level (between Ministers) need to be achieved. In this environment of unavoidably slower development of understanding and capacity, most benefit will be derived by ‘learning by doing’. The key deliverable would be improved capacity of the country’s road safety agencies to deliver road safety improvement. It would also provide a clear message to the community that improved performance is achievable.

Coordinated on-road corridor treatments of demonstration projects can be:

  • the enforcement of laws
  • the identification and treatment of blackspots or high crash risk sections
  • improvement of the emergency medical management systems for post-crash care
  • public information porgrammes to raise awareness of what is being done and the benefits it will bring

Separate from those corridor actions policy development components of demonstration projects (separate from the corridor actions) will usually include some of the following:

  • new driver licensing procedures and policies, including testing;
  • improved vehicle safety policies;
  • strengthened road safety rules and regulations;
  • and improved licence and vehicle and traffic offence data systems and their linkage.

The resourcing, guidance and persistence needed to achieve even small changes in approach by the agencies will be substantial. Experience has shown that the level of effort required for this is consistently under estimated and under-resourced. The measurement (both baseline and ongoing) and monitoring of intermediate outcome performance is an essential component of demonstration project activity and is important for the later phases of broader road safety activity.

While detailed digital crash record databases may not be in place, the level of overall fatalities can be collated from local police records and hospital records for the demonstration project corridor activity, and usually (with effort) for a larger area. The country would then be in a position to assemble the evidence base to assess demonstration project benefits and this would support a broad roll-out programme for the subsequent medium term or growth phase.

Detailed project objectives and project components for a road safety demonstration project, drawn from recommendations for the establishment phase arising from a typical recent World Bank road safety management capacity review, are set out in Table 6.3 and Table 6.4.


Strengthen road safety management capacity in Country A to deliver a demonstration project. Establish road safety decision-making arrangements at executive and working group level of the key agencies, and consultation arrangements with stakeholder groups/experts


Designate a lead agency to conduct the demonstration project and specify its formal objectives, functions and resourcing requirements. This will include a small road safety cell to provide advice and secretariat services to the coordinated decision-making of project partners.


Develop and implement interventions by the sectors in a selected corridor. Monitor and measure changes in road safety performance.


Identify and conduct selected policy reviews to address key road safety priorities. Make recommendations to improve road safety results.


Accelerate road safety knowledge transfer to strategic partners.

These five objectives are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. The aim is to create a joint project which encourages agencies to work together constructively to: deliver (and then evaluate) a set of well-targeted, good practice interventions across the sectors in identified higher-risk corridor(s); conduct further policy reviews; and accelerate road safety knowledge transfer. It is anticipated that the road safety demonstration project may typically cost around US $20 million (and at least $10 million as a minimum), have four major components and be implemented over a four year timeframe (see Table 6.4).

ComponentTypical US $m.

A resourced project executive committee to lead and manage components 2,3 and 4


Interventions in high-risk, high-volume demonstration corridors (urban and rural sections) with monitoring and evaluation systems in place.



Policy reviews of road safety priorities, e.g. from projects such as driver licensing standards; heavy vehicle safety; safe infrastructure design, operation, management standards and principles; crash investigation capability strengthening for Police; developing road safety research capability; penalty frameworks for offences



Building knowledge through technical assistance, study tours to other countries, and a fully resourced road safety group (or cell)




The recommended scale of demonstration projects is around this amount and timescale because minor funding is unlikely to realise benefits described earlier in this section. The substantial change in the management of road safety from individual agency ‘best efforts’ to a coordinated and well led whole-of-government management approach, which builds the skills necessary to manage a whole of country improvement, requires significant investment and leadership. Governments and funding agencies need to recognise this requirement. An example of a demonstration project is provided in the Kerala, India case study

CASE STUDY - Kerala, India: Demonstration Project
A corridor demonstration project is underway in Kerala, India. The corridor which is to receive a major safety performance upgrade through multi-sectoral efforts is an 80 kilometre length of MC Road, a State Highway, from Kazhakkoottam to Adoor. This major highway passes through some rural areas, but there are many towns and much urban (ribbon) development along its length. The three-year project has a budget of some US $14 million and is funded by the Government of Kerala and the World Bank Read More (PDF, 79 kb)

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  • LMICs should commission an expert road safety management capacity review, adopt the Safe System goal and approach, identify the country’s road safety risks and then develop, fund and prepare a demonstration project involving all agencies. It should include a multi-sectoral treatment for a substantial higher risk corridor or urban area plus selected national policy reviews. This should form the LMIC investment plan for the establishment phase.
  • The planned demonstration project should treat a high-risk corridor or extensive urban area with a complete range of interventions across the road safety agencies, identify selected policy areas for review (for example driver licence testing requirements, vehicle safety standards), establish project management arrangements and prepare for monitoring and measuring of agreed intermediate outcome safety measures (such as mean speeds, seatbelt and helmet wearing rates and alcohol impairment rates in fatal and serious crashes on the corridor) to enable progress being achieved with the demonstration project to be identified on an ongoing basis.
  • Project management for the demonstration project is to include identification of an agreed lead agency to support coordination and decision-making activities within a newly established project working group of agencies. The working group will report to a senior level steering committee of agencies.
  • Implement a crash data system as a priority.


  • Complete implementation of the demonstration project.
  • Progressively evaluate performance by measuring and reporting intermediate outcomes and final outcomes to the public.
  • Build knowledge and capability through these and other means, such as exchanges, information sharing with other jurisdictions, fact-finding missions, and international literature reviews to implement effective interventions.
  • Develop legislation and systems and promote senior government executive and public awareness of the need for their commitment to road safety investment.
  • Achieve adequate funding to progressively extend the demonstration project outcomes (suitably modified based on lessons learned) across the network.
  • Implement ongoing reforms of safety policies and institutional management arrangements, including adoption of a national lead agency, its agreed role and responsibilities and agency coordination and support.


  • Disseminate crash data and other safety performance data from the national crash analysis system.
  • Set medium-term targets for country outcomes, country intermediate outcomes and outputs by organisations and develop and implement growth investment (strategy and action) plans to achieve these targets. HICs are likely to be carrying out these tasks as an immediate priority.
  • Determine whether top down or bottom up target-setting is to be used and look to the targets being adopted by leading countries for guidance.
  • Implement comprehensive multi-sectoral measures across the total network.
  • Manage, monitor and report on road safety performance across the network.
  • In the longer-term consolidation investment phase, support regions and local governments to develop longer-term targets, strategies/action plans and safety performance monitoring.
Reference sources

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