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Mobility & Transport - Road Safety

Research and development and knowledge transfer

Research and development and knowledge transfer




Research and development and knowledge transfer

This vital institutional management function has guided the design and implementation of national strategies that have sustained reductions in road deaths and injuries, in the face of growing mobility and exposure to risk [56][5]. It aims to produce a cadre of international, national and local professionals who can contribute research-based approaches and knowledge to road safety policy, programs and public debate. Knowledge transfer must be grounded in actual practice in a 'learning by doing' model, backed with sufficient targeted investment to overcome the barriers presented by the evident capacity weaknesses at the global, regional and country levels. Strong and sustained international cooperation will be required to mobilize knowledge transfer resources and support services commensurate with the sheer scale of the global losses arising from escalating road deaths and serious injuries [5].

Good practice countries believe that research, technical support and knowledge transfer underpin their road safety performance and ensure that this sector is well-supported. Key activities include:

  • Developing capacity for multi-disciplinary research and knowledge transfer
  • Creating a national road safety research strategy and annual programme
  • Securing sources of sustainable funding for road safety research
  • Training and professional exchange
  • Establishing best practice guidelines
  • Setting up demonstration projects[5].

In some good practice countries, multi-disciplinary road safety research forms part of a national research strategy with a dedicated government budget. This includes behavioural studies; road crash injury research, biomechanics and vehicle design; road safety engineering; post-impact care; demonstration projects; and the development of standards for national and international legislation. Some countries have set up external advisory panels to help define the national programme. Appropriate levels of human and public financial resource need to be invested in a national road safety research programme. National and community research - as opposed to relying solely on international research - is important for identifying local problems and localized groups at increased risk of road injury. Separation of the research and evaluation functions from the operational aspects of road safety management gives independence and credibility to public policy research [5].

In Europe, the Forum of European Road Safety Research Institutes [29], the Passive Safety Network [67] and the European Enhanced Vehicle Safety Committee (EEVC), have comprised the principal road safety research networks over the last decade and new networks are emerging with the assistance of the EU Framework Programme. FERSI'S mission is to :

  • Provide a forum for developing collaborative research projects aimed at producing solutions to common road safety problems within European countries
  • Provide support to the European Commission in defining research needs within Europe
  • Encourage the exchange of good practice and research knowledge between countries and
  • Encourage closer co-operation and, where appropriate, the exchange of researchers between countries

Knowledge transfer in road safety is promoted and supported by a wide range of international and national agencies e.g. the World Bank and its Global Road Safety Facility and World Health Organization, the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society and the Global Road Safety Partnership are currently preparing a series of good practice intervention guides on road safety to assist country implementation of the recommendations of the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention. The World Health Organization has produced a training programme (TEACH VIP) with a road traffic injury prevention component as well as a recent training manual ( The OECD has carried out international reviews of road safety best practice for many years ( Not least the European Union CARDS programme has supported twinning and professional exchange programmes in road safety management and has created the European Road Safety Observatory to enhance knowledge transfer on best practice ( [5]