Economic Evaluation of Road Safety Measures: the Framework, Testing and Future Needs

Economic Evaluation of Road Safety Measures: the Framework, Testing and Future Needs


Victoria Gitelman, Alfred-Shalom Hakkert , Technion, IL


This paper describes work carried out within the framework of a European project on the correct application of cost-benefit methodology to safety projects.A number of examples are given.


Improving road safety was given top priority in the European Union?s Transport Policy. To reach the overall objective of halving the number of fatalities by 2010, it is essential to exhaust the reduction potentials of the wide variety of already-existing road safety measures. A prerequisite for this task is reliable knowledge about the effectiveness and efficiency of the road safety measures. As assumed, better knowledge will stimulate more efficient priorities for road safety measures, which, in turn, will result in a significant reduction in accidents. The efficiency of road safety measures is estimated in terms of safety benefits ? accidents/ injuries saved and their economic values, where the assessment should be performed in accordance with a common framework, which dictates the main steps, rules and components of the evaluation. Such a framework was recently developed by the EU project ROSEBUD (Road Safety and Environmental Benefit-Cost and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis for Use in Decision-Making).
The evaluation framework was further tested on 10 case-studies carried out for several European countries and Israel. The test cases were selected as representative and covering a wide range of road safety measures. The selection accounted for the typical measures' categorization as infrastructure-, user- and vehicle-related measures as well as for different levels of implementation (national, regional or local) and measure's "relevance" for modern road safety programs. The selected test cases comprised the topics of ABS for motorcycles, automatic speed control on a road section, daytime running lights, traffic calming measures in urban areas, railroad crossings' grade-separation, measures against collisions with trees, road improvement mix in rural areas, intensive police enforcement, 2+1 roads and compulsory helmet regulations for cyclists, and presented a mixture of ex post and ex ante considerations. The evaluation was performed using standardized techniques of cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness analysis of a road safety measure, which compose the definitions of basic formulae, implementation units, target accidents, safety effects, accidents costs and implementation costs. Depending on the measure considered, the side effects on mobility and environment were also accounted for.
The evaluation results provided:
(a) Additional insights into the effects of separate safety measures. For example, in the case of speed humps on a local street, the safety effect is partly compensated for by a dis-benefit of time losses, where for streets with higher traffic volumes, the economic effect of this safety measure might become negative.
(b) An overall comparison of the estimated effects by groups of topic, application level, country.
(c) An overview of typical difficulties with the application of evaluation framework both in part of data availability and common technical problems.
In the paper, the evaluation framework and its application for two Israeli case-studies will be presented. Summing up the international experience of all the case-studies, recommendations will be provided concerning the development of guidelines for the economic evaluation of road safety measures.


Association for European Transport