Intermediate outcomes (performance indicators) (OECD, 2008) are of substantial value in reliably predicting final outcomes. The Road Safety Management System and Effective Management and Use of Safety Data outline output, intermediate outcome and final outcome measures. The measurement, collection and monitoring of intermediate outcome data for selected factors will provide a means of measuring progress over time. It provides for effective monitoring that encourages awareness and insight. It will also provide reasonably reliable predictions of likely changes in fatalities and serious injuries for each element measured.
A number of possible intermediate outcome measures are specified in those chapters, for example, seatbelt wearing rates, speed monitoring, alcohol impairment in fatal and serious injury crashes and helmet wearing rates. For LMICs the following intermediate outcome measures could be added: truck rear lighting operational rates, wrong-way vehicle travel rates, proportion of length of high pedestrian areas with footpaths, rate of provision of raised speed reduction devices with highly visible advanced signage at pedestrian crossings on arterial roads in urban areas, and more.
One option (Austroads, 2013) to link these measures to desired results (adopted targets) is to develop an ‘outcome management’ framework which directly links the outputs from the strategy (i.e. what will be done) with outcomes (i.e. what is to be achieved). This is a useful approach which focuses attention on key outcomes, encourages modelling of effectiveness of outputs on final and intermediate outcomes achieved, and assists in the monitoring process. It will be a later (growth and consolidation phases) activity for most LMICs.
Strategies may often include intermediate outcome (or road safety performance indicator) targets as well as relying on intermediate outcome measures to predict underlying impacts on targeted outcomes. In some cases, output targets will also be set within a strategy.
Final outcome, intermediate outcome or output targets can also readily be devised at an organisational (road safety agency) level, compared to an overall target for final outcomes across the country – which are to be achieved as a consequence of all agency contributions.
For example, a road authority can calculate the reduction in expected fatalities (outcomes) from certain blackspot treatments or a programme of crash risk reduction along road lengths. It can measure mean speed reductions (an intermediate outcome measure) achieved as a consequence of installing raised speed reduction devices at sections of the network where pedestrian fatality or intersection fatality risks are higher. Finally, it can measure the number of blackspot locations treated or lengths of network treated to reduce serious crash risk – a measure of outputs.
It is most useful for all organisations to have their own strategic plan, actions and targets, based on the jurisdiction’s overall strategy. The agency strategy should indicate, in as measurable a manner as possible, how and what they intend to achieve with their own activities to meet their obligations as part of the overall country target.