Road Safety Manual
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For all countries, in the establishment phase, there are known interventions, which if implemented effectively, will deliver results (see Intervention Selection and Prioritisation). These interventions include:

  • safer speed
  • improved safety of road and roadside infrastructure
  • improved seatbelt wearing
  • improving safety for vulnerable road users (pedestrians, two-wheeler riders, cyclists)
  • reduced drink driving
  • improved medical management after crashes occur

These recommended measures are applicable to all countries. However, there are further measures which would be relevant in targeting improved safety in LMICs. These measures include:

  • safer heavy vehicles (trucks and buses),
  • safer heavy vehicle driver compliance with road rules, and
  • further two-wheeler measures including a focus on helmet wearing and provision of separate roadside lanes (or at least hard shoulder provision) on rural roads.

Apart from such interventions, accompanying tasks may be necessary to support road safety performance, especially in LMICs. In LMICs, demonstration projects and other means, including ongoing strengthening of existing road safety activities and the development of digital data systems for licensing and offence records (and their linkage) will be a challenging, but rewarding process. Improvements to public sector governance and the implementation of the supportive, enabling systems necessary to underpin good public policy and good road safety performance, will take considerable focused effort over a number of years.

These are substantial challenges. This is not to discourage immediate action, but there needs to be a realistic sense of what can be achieved in the short-term. This will depend heavily upon:

  • the level of resources;
  • the advisory expertise marshalled in support (particularly for overall project management and administrations);
  • the outcome focus of the activity;
  • the extent of high-level commitment to achieving change and performance improvement.

It is also vital that actions which increase road crash risks are not taken, even if the outcome is unintended. Box 6.5 details the unanticipated impact of resurfacing of roads leading to higher travel speeds and therefore increased fatalities in the former East Germany before remediation measures were taken.


The experience of the German State of Brandenburg in the years immediately after German reunification is relevant for other emerging countries. Initially there was:
  • little road safety experience within the road authorities;
  • a high proportion of old/unsafe vehicles on the network;
  • many novice drivers with little pre-licence supervised driving experience;
  • police reluctance to actively enforce road rules due to historical links to the former political system.

An early action reflected the lack of available knowledge. A programme of new asphalt resurfacing of existing roads without corresponding safety mitigation measures resulted in increased speeds and greater numbers of fatalities. Time was required to identify appropriate road safety actions. Within a few years road safety success was eventually achieved, with a reduction of 72% in severe accidents and 81% in fatalities within 20 years in a sustainable way.

Source: Wenk & Vollpracht (2013).


For the growth and consolidation phases of investment, development of comprehensive strategies and action plans will be necessary and there will be capacity available by then to build meaningful proposals which can be fully assessed for their likely contribution to proposed targets. In the later part of the growth phase and beyond, the estimated aggregate impact of implementable actions can be utilised to provide a target (see Setting Targets). 

In this phase developed capacity data, tools and knowledge have to be available to

  • enable a more detailed analysis of risks on a regular basis
  • analyse crash outcome risks
  • review existing action plans
  • develop countermeasure strategies and actions
  • evaluate implemented measures and economic measures (e.g. benefit-cost ratio, net present value and first year rate of return)
  • guide initiatives through legislative and policy development processes
  • disseminate results (e.g. by work-shops, knowledge exchange, information campaigns)

In HICs and LMICs there will be many potential interventions which can be applied in the growth phase and beyond. Later chapters address road safety engineering interventions in detail (see Intervention Selection and Prioritisation), and other interventions (such as improved road user behaviour through legislation, enforcement, and licensing; improved vehicle standards; and improved post-crash care) are also important.

Interventions (i.e. countermeasures) to address the identified risks in the growth and consolidation investment phases can be developed based on evidence from demonstration projects and other jurisdictions, as well as from research. The Austroads Guide to Road Safety Part 2 (2013) provides a conceptual framework for countermeasure selection, based on the Safe System approach, and sets out steps for:

  • matching countermeasures to problems;
  • assessing whether particular countermeasures are likely to be successful;
  • the likely returns on investment;
  • the capacity to deliver particular countermeasures.


Reference sources

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