Target-setting can be based on the estimated outcomes of agreed action plans. Alternatively (and most commonly) targets can simply be aspirational in nature. Establishing a road safety target is a major opportunity to involve and inform the community about the road safety risks which exist in the community, the measures available to reduce the risks and to actively and openly seek the support for improved performance. There are two possibilities for target-setting – a top down declaration or a bottom up approach. A mix of these approaches is possible as well.
Top down target-setting, such as applying the Decade of Action 50% fatality reduction target for the period from 2011 to 2020 (see Typical Numerical Targets Adopted below), is much more likely to be applied in LMICs, as there is often little other evidence-based information on which to start their road safety journey. However, this aspirational approach can often lead to disappointing short-term and medium-term results.
Bottom-up target setting is based upon a negotiated set of strategic actions with a calculated (estimated) impact on fatalities and (serious) injuries. Prerequisite for this approach is good crash data, an understanding of the safety issues, knowledge of potential solutions and adequate resources. Thus targets that are more specific can be developed. Before target setting linkages between the administrative and the political level are often useful for discussion and resolution of potential implementation issues (often beyond transport impacts) that could otherwise block initiatives.
Whether the top down or bottom up approach is used to produce a target, this knowledge and experience will back strategy and action plan development and implementation. Either approach is capable of supporting improved road safety performance. However, until sufficient capacity to manage road safety is in place in a country, it is unlikely that a bottom up approach will be feasible. For this reason, Table 6.1 indicates that for the ‘establishment’ and early ‘growth’ investment phases a top down approach to target setting is likely to be the only feasible option for LMICs.
Some issues are relevant for target setting in most cases:
While LMICs could usefully base any short-term target they adopt on the five to ten year targets currently being adopted by good practice countries, there are major shortcomings in doing so:
Regional/state and local plans and targets should reflect the adopted national approach, with variations for local circumstance and intent. In this way, a more consistent understanding by the community, road safety practitioners, and politicians at various levels of government can be established. However, target-setting at the local level (as distinct from the regional/state level) is likely to be problematic as the data, resources and level of expertise are generally not readily available. Therefore, national or state targets are often adopted, that is why national plans should provide sufficient flexibility for local preferences and priorities to be identified and expressed in local plans.
Case Studies – Target-setting
Contained below are a number of case studies on target setting:
A bottom up approach to interim target-setting was followed in the state of Western Australia
Top down or aspirational target-setting is the most widely used method – and it is the only feasible approach which can be used in the establishment phase. It can also be used effectively for the growth and consolidation phases. For example, Sweden operates a mix of top down and bottom up approaches to interim road safety target-setting.
Typical Numerical Targets Adopted – Examples
Road safety targets need to be quantitative and measurable so that the level of aspiration is clear, the extent to which the target has been achieved can be determined, and if it has not been achieved, then the extent to which the result is short of the target can be measured.
Quantified road safety targets have been set in a number of regions (see Key Developments in Road Safety,) and countries in recent decades, including Finland, France, The Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United States.
Example Indonesia: targets and policy actions expressed in the National Road Safety Master Plan 2011-2035 (Republic of Indonesia) are:
In addition to final outcome targets for overall fatalities and serious injuries being defined in a strategy, outcome targets can be set for different at-risk road user groups and for various risk categories under the Safe System pillars.
For example, the current New Zealand Safer Journeys 2010–2020 Strategy (Ministry of Transport, 2010) targets a 40% reduction in the fatality rate of young people and a 20% reduction in fatalities resulting from crashes involving drug or alcohol impaired drivers, as shown in Table 6.2.
|Target focus||Target reduction||Target focus||Target reduction|
Increase the safety of young drivers
Reduce the road fatality rate of young people from 21 per 100 000 population to a rate similar to that of young Australians of 13 per 100 000
|Achieve safer walking and cycling||Achieve a reduction in the crash risk for pedestrians and particularly cyclists, while at the same time encouraging an increase in use of these modes through safer road infrastructure|
Reduce alcohol/drug impaired driving
Reduce the level of fatalities caused by drink and/or drugged driving, currently 28 deaths per one million population, to a rate similar to that in Australia of 22 deaths per one million population
|Improve the safety of heavy vehicles||Reduce the number of serious crashes involving heavy vehicles|
Achieve safer roads and roadsides
Significantly reduce the crash risk on New Zealand’s high-risk routes
|Reduce the impact of fatigue and address distraction||Make management of driver distraction and fatigue a habitual part of what it is to be a safe and competent driver|
Achieve safer speeds
Significantly reduce the impact of speed on crashes by reducing the number of crashes attributed to speeding and driving too fast for the conditions
|Reduce the impact of high risk drivers||Reduce the number of repeat alcohol and speed offenders and incidents of illegal street racing|
Increase the safety of motorcycling
Reduce the road fatality rate of motorcycle and moped riders from 12 per 100 000 population to a rate similar to that of the best performing Australian state, Victoria, which is 8 per 100 000
|Increase the level of restraint use||Achieve a correct use and fitting rate of 90% for child restraints and make the use of booster seats the norm for children aged 5 to 10|
Improve the safety of the light vehicle fleet
Have more new vehicles enter the country with the latest safety features. The average age of the New Zealand light vehicle fleet will also be reduced from over 12 years old to a level similar to that of Australia, which is 10 years
|Increase the safety of older New Zealanders||Reduce the road fatality rate of older New Zealanders from 15 per 100 000 population to a rate similar to that of older Australians of 11 per 100 000|
Final outcome, intermediate outcome or output targets can also 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.
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.