Road Safety Manual
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2.6 Building road safety management capacity

Road safety requires a planned response

Successful road safety management is a systematic process. This has been defined and effective practice has been translated into working management system models for jurisdictions and organisations to provide tools to help address the Decade’s goals (GRSF, 2009; GRSF, 2013 OECD, 2008; ISO, 2012). As illustrated in Figure 2.3, key institutional management functions produce effective, system-wide interventions designed to produce road safety results for the interim and the long-term. See  Safety Management System for a further discussion of country and organisational road safety management system frameworks.

Figure 2.3 Road safety management is a systematic process - Source: GRSF (2009) (building on frameworks of LTSA, 2000; Wegman, 2001; Koornstra et al., 2002; Bliss, 2004).

Road safety management system weaknesses

The current lack of road safety management capacity in LMICs presents a substantial barrier to implementing the ambitious Global Plan, addressing regional initiatives, and meeting national goals and targets. Road safety management capacity reviews conducted for the Global Road Safety Facility since 2006 indicate that a clearly defined results focus is often absent. This reflects the lack of leadership of targeted strategies, programmes or projects that are owned by the government and relevant agencies, with responsibilities and accountabilities for their achievement being clearly specified and accepted. As a consequence, coordination arrangements can be ineffective, supporting legislation fragmented (although some recent progress is reported; see WHO, 2013) funding insufficient and poorly targeted, promotional efforts narrowly directed, monitoring and evaluation systems ill-developed, and knowledge transfer limited. Where national targets and plans have been created, the lack of capacity to implement them means that their effectiveness is limited (GRSF, 2006–2012).

Critical success factors

The key challenge for LMICs and international development is how to successfully implement the Global Plan's recommendations where road safety management capacity is weak. The critical issues for success are:

  • how to build road safety management capacity through institutional reforms;
  • how to accelerate knowledge transfer and leapfrog previous paradigms;
  • how to scale-up investment;
  • how to increase international cooperation and development aid support sustainably.

Sustained investments will be needed in governance and institutions, infrastructure, vehicle fleets, and related investments in the health and wellbeing of citizens to address their vulnerability to risks of death and injury. Otherwise, road safety outcomes in LMICS will continue to deteriorate in the face of rapid motorisation and increased road infrastructure provision. Meeting the management challenges of the Decade of Action for Road Safety will require these critical success factors to be addressed, if its ambitious goal is to be achieved (Bliss & Breen, 2012)..

A country investment model for building capacity

Based on reviews of successful as well as unsuccessful practice, the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility has produced a country investment model in road safety management guidelines that is designed to assist LMICs and development aid agencies in addressing the issues outlined in Critical Success Factor in Building Road Safety Management Capacity (GRSF 2009, 2013). These guidelines acknowledge that LMICs cannot expect to develop all the road safety management arrangements evident in the best performing countries overnight. They outline a practical approach designed to overcome capacity barriers outlined above, as well as take account of the learning and absorptive capacity of the country concerned. These tools are described further in Safety Management System. Specific guidance on steps to be taken by roads authorities in relation to the safe planning, design, operation and use of the road network is outlined in Part Planning, Design & Operation.

Reference sources

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