A COST-EFFECTIVENESS EVALUATION OF HIGHWAY SAFETY COUNTERMEASURES

In the work summarized here, the pattern of expected fatalities and injuried for the next 10 years was examined to isolate major problem areas and to assemble and evaluate countermeasures that may be effective in dealing with them. For the highway safety aspects of the problem (as opposed to the vehicular safety aspects) 13 problem areas were identified, including bad driver behavior (a major portion of which is the drinking driver), roadside hazards, bicycle and pedestrian safety, young drivers, and motorcycles. For each such problem area a list of potential countermeasures was developed, a list that numbered more than 200 items originally and was eventually narrowed to the 37 deemed to offer the highest promise of reducing future highway fatalities and injuries. The costs of the countermeasures were estimated on a national scale, on the basis of survey data acquired by interviews with officials in 20 states and 593 local jurisdictions. In the absence of other criteria the state officials were asked to estimate the costs of achieving specified levels of intensity for each countermeasure. These levels were developed by using recognized national standards, such as those contained in the Federal-Aid Highway Program Manual and those proposed by The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. From this sample, it was possible to estimate the costs of new deployments of each countermeasure, recognizing initial costs, capital costs, recurring costs, and user costs. All costs are estimated in constant 1974 dollars over a 10-year period and converted to their present value equivalent by use of a 10-percent discount rate. Capital costs are adjusted when the service life extends beyond the 10-year period. This reduction of all costs to present value enables valid comparisons to be made of countermeasures having disparate time frames for implementation. It is evident that there are vast differences in what may be expected from alternative investment in highway countermeasures. The ability to discern these differences has been limited by incomplete data on the relative effectiveness of each countermeasure. As such data are acquired and refined, analyses such as reported here can lead to more efficient placement of resources in those areas where the greatest effects can be realized. Improving the data requires both improving the methods of estimating each countermeasure's deterrent value (through research and evaluation procedures) and the size and character of the populations to which it can be applied (through survey research traffic records systems). Because the results of deployments will vary from state to state, it is clear that analyses such as reported here are most valid when done at the state level. This is fully compatible with the present role of the states in the highway safety field.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Eno Transportation Foundation

    1250 I Street, NW, Suite 750
    Washington, DC  USA  20005
  • Authors:
    • Trilling, D R
  • Publication Date: 1978-1

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 41-66
  • Serial:
    • Traffic Quarterly
    • Volume: 32
    • Issue Number: 1
    • Publisher: Eno Transportation Foundation
    • ISSN: 0041-0713

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00173884
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 31 2002 12:00AM