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Mobility & Transport - Road Safety

Institutional management functions

Institutional management functions



Institutional management functions

The seven institutional management functions provide the foundation on which road safety management systems are built: they produce the interventions to achieve the desired long and medium-term road safety results (expressed as visions and performance targets) which have been agreed across the road safety partnership at national, regional and local levels. These functions are delivered primarily by all the government agencies producing interventions, but they are also delivered in government partnerships with civil society and business entities to achieve the desired focus on results. Without effective institutional management a country has little chance of implementing successful road safety interventions and achieving desired results [5] .

Institutional management functions

Results focus in its ultimate expression concerns a strategic orientation that links all actual and potential interventions with results, analyses what can be achieved over time, and sets out a performance management framework for the delivery of interventions and their intermediate and final outcomes. It defines the level of safety which a country wishes to achieve expressed in terms of vision, goals, objectives and related targets.

Coordination concerns the orchestration and alignment of the interventions and other related institutional management functions delivered by government partners and related community and business partnerships to achieve the desired focus on results.

Legislation (where necessary) concerns the appropriate legal instruments which specify the legitimate bounds of institutions, their responsibilities and accountabilities, their interventions and their related institutional management functions to achieve the desired focus on results.

Funding and resource allocation concerns the financing of interventions and related institutional management functions on a sustainable basis using a rational evaluation and programming framework to allocate resources to achieve the desired focus on results.

Promotion concerns the countrywide and sustained communication of road safety as a core business for Government and society, emphasising the shared societal responsibility to support the delivery of the interventions required to achieve the desired results.

Monitoring and evaluation concerns the systematic and ongoing measurement and evaluation of interventions in terms of achieving the desired road safety outputs and outcomes (results).

Research and development and knowledge transfer concerns the systematic and ongoing creation, codification, transfer and application of knowledge that contributes to the improved efficiency and effectiveness of the road safety management system to achieve the desired focus on results.

Source: Bliss and Breen, 2008[5]

The role of the lead agency


The lead agency plays a dominant role in most of the institutional management functions for road safety; in others it plays a guiding, encouraging or catalytic role [5]. The lead agency takes responsibility within Government for the development of the national road safety strategy and its results focus. It is engaged in the delivery of and supported by strong horizontal inter-governmental coordination arrangements; good vertical coordination of national, regional and local activity; coordination of the necessary delivery partnerships between government stakeholders, the professional, non-governmental and business sectors and Parliamentary groups and committees; a comprehensive legislative framework; sustainable sources of annual funding and a rational framework for resource allocation; high-level promotion of road safety strategy across Government and society; regular monitoring and evaluation and strong research and technical support [5] .


As the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention notes, a variety of lead agency models can be effective in road safety and each country needs to create a lead agency appropriate to its own circumstances. Successful practice underscores the need for the agency to be a governmental body and for its leadership role to be accepted and fully supported by the rest of government to ensure the development of appropriate capacity and funding. The agency might take the form of a designated, stand-alone bureau with a coordinating committee or cabinet representing several different government agencies. It might also be part of a larger transport organization or be part of the Premier's department. The agency might undertake much of the work itself or else it might delegate aspects of work to other organizations, including provincial and local governments, research institutes or professional associations [5].

Recent work by the World Bank has examined different types of governmental lead agency structure in several 'good practice' jurisdictions which have been active in road safety over a long period of time and have developed a role in the delivery of all seven institutional management functions [5]. They illustrate how governmental lead agencies and their coordination arrangement can vary in form and structure to achieve results. In some cases, the main institutional arrangements have evolved gradually over many years. In others, they are relatively recent. All agencies involve fairly complex organizational structures and processes and many players.

OECD [52] recommendation:

Strengthen the road safety management system

All countries should commit to ensuring an effective road safety management system and in particular seek to achieve a strong results focus through their institutional management arrangements. This results focus requires clear identification of: a lead agency; the core group of government ministries and agencies to be involved; their roles and responsibilities; and the performance targets in terms of institutional outputs and intermediate and final outcomes to be achieved within a defined strategy.

In EU countries, the typical lead agency structure lead department is the Ministry of Transport or Road Authority (see the example of the Swedish Road Administration) which undertakes much of the work itself as well as delegating aspects of its work to other organizations, including provincial and local governments, research institutes or professional associations.

Swedish Road Administration delivery of institutional management functions

Results focus: The Swedish Road Administration (SRA) is the accountable lead agency for road safety in Sweden. SRA has the main responsibility in Sweden for managing the country results focus: reviewing performance and proposing goals and targets and carrying out intervention in the road network; SRA developed and leads Vision Zero and is responsible for the achievement of national targets was underpinned by a performance agreement with the Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications.

Coordination: SRA established, chairs, manages and provides a dedicated secretariat in-house for each of the three consultative (rather than decision-making) bodies to engage all the main players with governmental responsibilities in road safety as well as other key players in addressing Vision Zero and national targets. These bodies, however, are designed more for sharing knowledge, discussing countermeasures and stimulating stakeholder contributions rather than decision-making bodies at national level. SRA also ensures that there is vertical coordination between governmental bodies and funds tools for use by regional and local authorities, as well as specific road safety outputs. In recent years, the SRA has expanded its external partnership capacity to deliver the challenging Vision Zero concept and has developed result-producing road safety partnerships individually and through its consultation bodies with a wide range of professional, research, non-governmental, user and industry groups. SRA tries to ensure stakeholder accountability through its OLA process which involves the use of Declarations of Intent.

Legislation: SRA has established a comprehensive legislative framework which has evolved over the years. SRA proposes vehicle, roads and user rules and standards, some of which are identified and agreed at EU level, with inspection and compliance carried out by Departmental agencies and the police. SRA has established in-house capacity to propose, ensure compliance with and monitor road safety standards for vehicles, roads and people as well as to provide policy advice. SRA establishes Commissions of Enquiry when developing and consolidating major primary legislation.

Funding and resource allocation: SRA ensures sustainable annual funding for road safety from general tax revenues which it allocates to its agencies through annual agreements and transport plans in support of Vision Zero intervention. SRA has used ring-fenced funding on a regional basis to encourage local road safety engineering activity and Vision Zero demonstration projects as well as directly funding some police outputs to achieve results. Procedures are established for benefit to cost analysis which is used to identify priorities for infrastructure road safety spending. Estimates of the value of preventing death and serious injury are not made annually, nor are cost-benefit analysis or cost-effectiveness analysis used widely in resource allocation for safety work in the public sector.

Promotion: SRA promotes the shared responsibility for road safety using Vision Zero. Lead agency Ministers and Parliamentarian played a key role in launching and promoting Vision Zero. SRA coordinates multi-sectoral promotion and contracts out targeted road safety information which, in recent years, has been directed to organizational stakeholders than the general public. SRA helped to set up, chairs and supports the European New Car Assessment Programme which promotes vehicle safety. The MoT promotes the need to achieve road safety results to local and regional levels of government.

Monitoring and evaluation: Sweden has a long tradition in monitoring and evaluation of road safety. This, in general, is carried out comprehensively by the lead agency (at national and regional level), the Swedish Institute for Transport and Communications Analysis (SIKA), the Road Traffic Inspectorate (since 2003), research organizations, the municipalities and independent national and international experts. SRA and its partners have established databases to identify and monitor final and intermediate outcomes against targets and the results are published annually. The SRA played a key role in the establishment of the European New Car Assessment Programme and European Road Assessment Programme, both of which monitor vehicle fleet and aspects of road network safety. The SRA established the Road Traffic Inspectorate to help monitor road safety performance and the effectiveness of stakeholder activity.

Research and development and knowledge transfer: Sweden has a long and internationally recognised tradition in road safety research which has had a major impact on policy and results. SRA has ensured secured funding and capacity for road safety research and knowledge transfer. SRA supports attendance of its personnel at international road safety meetings, seminars, workshops and field visits. SRA and its partners have developed and disseminated best practice guidelines on road safety. SRA funds Vision Zero demonstration projects.

Source: Bliss and Breen 2008 [5]