Road Safety Manual
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6.5 Investment (Strategy and Actions) Plans and Implementation

Strategies and Actions

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.

Achieving Results in the Establishment Phase

Adoption of establishment phase actions requires countries to consider what constitutes a challenging level of ambition (i.e. target) for that short-term time period. Actions that can be taken in order to address any adopted short-term targets will vary considerably between countries:

  • There will be substantial differences between HICs and those LMICs introducing the Safe System approach for the first time and implementing a demonstration project for a new intervention.
  • LMICs will need to build initial capacity, while those HICs who have previously established knowledge and road safety management skills and experience, will have a more limited additional capacity building challenge as they will effectively be approaching the growth phase (see Achieving Results in the Growth and Consolidation Phases in Investment (Strategy and Actions) Plans and Implementation).
  • While the UN Decade of Action encourages a 50% reduction in fatalities from 2011 to 2020, most LMICs are experiencing increasing motorisation rates and their road safety management knowledge and coordination is at ‘entry’ levels (see Target-setting Approaches in Setting Targets for LMICs and short-term target setting).
  • Ideally there will be a focus in LMICs on developing and implementing demonstration projects which will build knowledge, confidence and competence in implementation. The scope of demonstration project actions in the initial years should not be too complex, in recognition of existing capacities.

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, gradual 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 administration);
  • 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 6.6 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.

Box 6.6: State of Brandenburg, Germany, early 1990s

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 all countries, there are known interventions, which if implemented effectively, will deliver results (see Intervention Selection and Prioritisation). These interventions include: safer speeds, improved seatbelt wearing, reduced drink driving, improved safety of road and roadside infrastructure, promotion of the benefits of safer vehicles to the public, improving safety for vulnerable road users (pedestrians, two-wheeler riders, cyclists) and 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.

The challenge in LMICs is to achieve the preconditions necessary to deliver these outcomes. This usually requires a number of years of effort. Road safety improvement is a continuous process requiring ongoing commitment.

It is essential that the focus on improving institutional management capacity to deliver improved road safety outcomes is not lost in the consideration of potential interventions in LMICs. This strengthening is critical to supporting an ability to implement effective road safety measures and is the major road safety challenge in all countries.

For LMICs, actions rather than comprehensive road safety strategies (which will be developed in future years) will be most useful in guiding early-stage (establishment phase) road safety activities. Strategic intent – adopting Safe System principles, strengthening management arrangements, acquiring knowledge, and establishing research capacity, will be required. However, production of an implementable highly-developed road safety strategy and achievable target from the beginning is unlikely to be a feasible objective.

Demonstration Project for the Establishment Phase in LMICs

As outlined in [link1164]The Road Safety Management System[/link], a road safety demonstration project would be developed and implemented as a first step in LMICs. 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). The term is used quite differently in this section, with the key distinction being the scale and multi-sectoral nature of the approach, and the capacity development focus (as described below).

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. Box 6.7 outlines the highlevel objectives of Safe System demonstration projects.

Box 6.7: World Bank Safe System demonstration projects: high-level objectives

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).


Projects need to include critical, basic and coordinated on-road corridor treatments such as 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, and public information programmes to raise awareness of what is being done and the benefits it will bring.

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. Suitable selected demonstration projects are a recognised means of building the ability to deliver improved road safety through developing necessary skills, knowledge and commitment for later broader system-wide application.

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. In summary:

  • The collection and monitoring of survey data for intermediate outcome factors, as outlined in Performance Indicators, will provide a means of measuring progress over time, reliable predictions of likely changes in fatalities and serious injuries and will encourage awareness and insight.
  • Measurement should start before any demonstration project is implemented, to establish a baseline condition.
  • Overall road safety outcomes will also be influenced by other factors such as traffic growth, change in traffic mix, etc.
  • Monitoring and evaluation is a powerful measurement approach for all countries. It will provide reliable feedback to those conducting on-the-ground operations targeting improved safety outcomes.

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 6.2 and Table 6.3.

Table 6.2: Detailed objectives for a specific demonstration project

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 fouryear timeframe (see Table 6.3).

Table 6.3: Project components
Component Typical 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 Box 6.8

Box 6.8: Demonstration project in Kerala, India

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. The project planning commenced in late 2014. Development of institutional capacity to deliver the project across the road safety agencies is underway and it is planned that intervention design, necessary training and procurement will commence at the one-year mark of the three-year project. It is intended that the full-scale implementation will be ready for roll out from the mid-point of the three year project. Various agencies are involved through a Management Group, which reports to the Kerala Road Safety Authority (KRSA) Executive Committee. These agencies include Public Works, Motor Vehicles, Police, Health, Education and the KRSA itself, which is being strengthened to provide facilitation and support to the other road safety partners. District councils (local communities) will also be fully consulted on proposals.

Interventions are to be based on application of Safe System principles and will include safer infrastructure safety treatments such as:

  • shoulder widening to provide for safer motorcycle use;
  • intersection treatments such as traffic signals, smaller roundabouts and channelization;
  • curve alignment markers and other advisory signage;
  • line marking, guideposts and reflectors;
  • roadside barrier;
  • footpath provision;
  • pedestrian crossing treatments such as raised platforms, signals, advance signage and lighting in the towns;
  • review of speed limits to meet Safe System principles, especially in towns and at schools;
  • extended use of existing technology to improve vehicle speed compliance and curtail unsafe overtaking on curves.

Other non-infrastructure measures include a review of incentives which encourage unsafe bus driver behaviour, enforcing adequate lighting on vehicles, enforcing wearing of helmets and seatbelts, improved ambulances for retrieval of crash victims and more rapid conveyance to the major hospitals along the route which are to be better equipped to handle road trauma.

Campaigns are being planned to advise the community of the project purpose, with the intention of obtaining its support for the project and the changed behaviour required to be supported through enforcement.


© ARRB Group

Achieving Results in the Growth and Consolidation Phases

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). This is applicable to HICs and to LMICs.

The availability of developed capacity, data and tools is essential to enable analysis of risk and selection of relevant interventions to be carried out. A major crash risks analysis, within say, a ten year strategy, should be conducted at least every two years and inform ongoing action plan renewal.

Analysing crash outcome risks by type of crash, type of behaviour, type of road user, type of road, identified higher-risk locations, type of vehicle, potential impact of improved post-crash care, and other factors, will guide development of countermeasure strategies and actions.

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.

Basic evaluation techniques and the economic measures (benefit-cost ratio, net present value and first year rate of return) are described, and the importance of public acceptability and favourable benefit-cost outcomes are discussed.

Ability to Implement Interventions for the Growth Phase

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 et 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.

These measures have proven to be effective in many different countries. It will be necessary to determine what measures can be put in place to target the major crash risks in a country, and to then implement these. This requires data, analysis skills, knowledge of potential interventions, and experience in guiding initiatives through legislative and policy development processes, particularly at the political level. Lack of capacity to implement known effective interventions is a major constraint in many countries, especially many LMICs.

Solutions do exist but, as an example, the linkage between the overall problem at a country level and specific initiatives may not be well-recognised. Forums or workshops for exchange of information between states or regional areas in a country, or between countries, are one recommended mechanism to increase awareness of the connection between potential actions and higher-level strategic direction. When this activity focuses on implementation experiences in various states, with practical issues and elements discussed, there will be good prospects for successful knowledge exchange.


Reference sources

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