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Implementing the Safe System Working Group

The Working Group seeks to develop an operational framework for the implementation of a safe system approach to road safety policy making, regardless of the level of development of the country or city concerned. The Group reviews examples of successful implementation of the approach to develop indicators for monitoring progress.

The Working Group's, with the World Bank, is expected to jointly publish a report by the end of 2021 reviewing evidence for the results of a shift to safe system approaches to intervention, and establish indicators of progress in taking the steps required. The work is complemented with pilot projects to examine effective implementation of safe system in a selection of countries and cities.

The 18-month cycle allows for discussion among relevant policy makers and experts to develop the operational framework for more effective implementation of safe system policies. 

Approximately 1.35 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes (WHO, 2018), with about 90% of them in low- and middle-income countries. Between 20 and 50 million persons are seriously injured. This entails huge consequences in terms of human pain and economic losses. Road safety is now recognised internationally as a major societal issue and is explicitly included in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SGD 3.6 and 11.2).

Crashes can be prevented and their severity reduced. A range of countries and cities have been relatively successful in the past two decades in significantly reducing the number of road casualties. Many of them have adopted a safe system approach which is increasingly recognised as the most effective approach to guide and shape road safety policies.

Two ITF reports provide background:

  • In 2008, ITF/OECD published a research report Towards Zero: Ambitious Road Safety Targets and the Safe System Approach: the first international effort in defining and promoting the adoption of a safe system approach as the main framework for road safety policies. This vision is based on ambitious targets and the aspiration to progressively eliminate all fatalities and seriously injured.
  • Subsequently, in 2016, ITF/OECD published Zero Road Deaths: A Paradigm Shift to a Safe System. This report examined the key components of a safe system approach to improving road safety performance and provided some practical guidelines for implementing the system.


For more information, please contact Véronique Feypell

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