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Sharing Road Safety: Developing an International Framework for Crash Modification Functions

Research Report

Almost 1.3 million people die in road crashes every year, and between 20 and 50 million are injured. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people between 15 and 29 years of age. Road crashes cost countries between 1 and 3 per cent of their GDP. In the face of these facts, the need for effective road safety policies is undeniable. 

Governments can more effectively improve road safety by making better use of indicators that reliably quantify the reduction of crashes due to interventions in the road-traffic system. According to the study, lack of quantifiable evidence about the effects of countermeasures – such as roadway signage, pedestrian crossing treatments, roadway geometric features, etc. – on road crashes is a key obstacle to the advancement of many critical, life-saving road safety initiatives. 

Through the use of indicators - so-called Crash Modification Functions (CMF) that provide measures of how interventions affect the number and gravity of road crashes - governments can reduce the risk of taking decisions that have little or no impact on improving road safety.

Dr Steve Lawson, Partnerships and Research Director, International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) comments: “This is a pathfinding report that reinforces the importance of understanding the effectiveness of road safety countermeasures – it will be useful to practitioners, researchers and policy-makers alike. iRAP’s work towards enabling a world free of high risk roads relies heavily upon reports such as this where best-in-field come together to establish the theoretical framework and add available knowledge to that.”

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