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A New Traffic Safety Paradigm

Monday, January 7, 2019 - 19:30

Despite large investments in traffic safety programs and technologies, motor vehicle accidents continue to impose high social costs. Crash casualty rates have ended their long-term decline and recently started to increase. New strategies are needed to achieve ambitious traffic safety targets such as Vision Zero. Recent research improves our understanding of factors that affect traffic risks and identifies new safety strategies. Applying this knowledge requires a paradigm shift. The old paradigm assumes that driving is generally very safe, and favors targeted safety programs that reduce special risks such as youth, senior and impaired driving. The new paradigm recognizes that all vehicle travel imposes risks, and so supports vehicle travel reduction strategies such as more multi-modal planning, efficient transport pricing, Smart Growth development policies, and TDM programs. Many of these strategies provide significant co-benefits, in addition to safety. This report examines our emerging understanding of traffic safety and strategies that can provide large benefits.  The full report is available from Victoria Transport Policy Institute at https://www.vtpi.org/ntsp.pdf