Traffic crashes have a major impact to European society: in 2008 over 38 000 road users died and over 1.2 million were injured. The economic cost is immense and has been estimated at over €160 billion for the EU 15 alone. The European Commission and National Governments place a high priority on reducing casualty numbers and have a series introduced targets and objectives.
The experience of the best-performing countries is that the most effective policies are based on an evidence-based, scientific approach. Information about the magnitude, nature and context of the crashes is essential while detailed analyses of the role of infrastructure, vehicles and road users enables new policies to be developed.
This project addressed the needs for further improvement of the European Road Safety Observatory by enhancing, structuring and applying the data and information it contains. The DACOTA project aimed to continue the efforts made in previous projects by gathering, consolidating and standardising the available road safety data and information, through the exploitation of all available sources.
Evidenced based approaches lie at the heart of the most successful road safety polices, and accident and other road safety data is a key component. No single set of data can support all road safety questions and the European Road Safety Observatory has been developed as a focus for a range of data and information types.
One part of the European Road Safety Observatory includes a series of data protocols and collection methodologies for a range of data types including national level and in-depth accident data, exposure data and safety performance indicators. Although it is a substantial step forward, the European Road Safety Observatory (ERSO) remains the first stage and further development is needed.
The DaCoTA team systematically gathered information from a selection of 14 EU Member States using a specially designed questionnaire based on a model of road safety. Analysis of the results showed that there was no one single 'good practise' model of road safety management that could be related to road safety outcomes.
The evidence base is a key factor in ERSO and for road safety policymaking and the DaCoTA team also reviewed the data needs of key stakeholder groups. A web-based questionnaire was completed by over 500 road safety stakeholders who were asked to identify the nature and availability of the most important types of safety data. The highest priority data needs were:
1. Information on crash causation factors (high priority for 67% of respondents),
2. Information on road users' behaviour and attitudes (63%),
3. A common definition of a fatality (60%),
4. Information on the costs and benefits of road safety measures (56%),
5. Serious injury counts, in addition to fatality counts (55%),
6. Methods to evaluate the safety impacts of road safety measures (54%),
7. Information on the safety impacts of combined measures (54%),
8. Common methods to perform evaluations of road safety measures (52%).
In order for the safety system to be innovative, it has to be able to firstly answer to a real need and to solve as indicates its name a problem of safety. For that purpose, it is important to have a solid core relying mainly on the following actions:
- The implementation of an information system on road accidents, common at European level (at world scale would be fantastic but not realistic) and to build it to last,
- Improve the knowledge of the road accidents by updating periodically the road safety diagnosis to be able to describe the stakes and identify the priorities to be solved according to the problems (causes, factors, etc.),
- Improve the 'real' safety contribution of the systems, which means to be able to estimate their effectiveness with the help of relevant criteria, but also to identify their potential limitations in real situations, from a technical point of view, or due to exogenous or endogenous factors from a driver's point of view.
- Quantitative targets
- Cost-benefit analysis
- Safety ratings
- Road safety management
The DaCoTA project aimed at providing policy makers with adequate data, information and tools for performing evidence-based policy making. In this context, the goal of the Decision Support Work Package was to make this stock of knowledge accessible and directly useable for the development of road safety policy and decision making.
The Decision Support therefore:
- exploited the data available for analysis by providing forecast of the road safety situation in the different member states; and
- worked on the development of ready-to-use instruments.
Policy Recommendation: to establish a road safety policy support structure to enable ERSO data to be presented in the most efficient and accessible form for policy-makers.
- An efficient and integrated mobility system: acting on Transport Safety (saving thousands of lives)
- Innovating for the future (technology and behaviour): a European Transport Research and Innovation Policy.