A Safe System Approach to Traffic Safety

Fatal crash outcomes usually depend upon a number of factors which interact and lead to death. We need to consider the role that all the elements play in a fatal outcome – the road and roadside, the vehicle, the speed limit and behaviour of the road users involved. A logical framework, which examines these road safety elements and their interactions is essential to enable practitioners to develop their thinking and understanding around risk and countermeasure possibilities. It also assists in providing more readily understood explanations of road safety risks and their potential treatment to the wider community. As road users are human, crashes are always likely to happen even though there is a continuing focus on prevention. The safe system approach recognises that there are limits to the capacity of the human body to survive various crash types above certain speeds of impact. It places a priority on systematically addressing major factors involved in specific crash types to achieve substantial road trauma reduction benefits over time. The safe system approach aims to minimise the severity of injury and is based on the premise that road users should not die because of system failings. It is derived from the work of the Swedish Road Authority and Road Safety Agencies in the Netherlands and has been adopted as the basis for road safety activity in Victoria, Australia since 2003. It is also adopted across Australia in the current National Road Safety Action Plan. This paper will review the components of the Safe System Approach and the progress made in Europe and Australia.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)

    Washington, DC  United States 

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Howard, Eric
    • Johnson, Mavis
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 2008


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: 5p
  • Monograph Title: Compendium of Technical Papers. ITE 2008 Technical Conference and Exhibit, March 30-April 2, 2008, Miami, Florida

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01109027
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 15 2008 2:31PM