About the Handbook of Road Safety Measures

The Handbook of Road Safety Measures summarizes results from empirical studies on the safety effects of different types of road safety measures. The main focus of the book is the measures’ effect on accidents or injuries. Per November 2019, 148 different road safety measures are included. As far as possible, results are summarized by meta-analysis.

The Handbook is continuously updated based on new empirical studies. Revised chapters are published here on the book’s website in Norwegian. For some chapters, results are also published as reports at the website of the Institute of Transport Economics, and/or as scientific journal articles. Previous versions of The Handbook of Road Safety Measures have been publised in Norwegian (1982, 1989, 1997 and 2012), English (2004 and 2009), Spanish (2006 and 2013), Russian (1997 and 2000), Finnish (1993), and Portugese (2015). The most updated content is freely available on this website in Norwegian.

History and financing

The Handbook of Road Safety Measures was initiated in 1978 at the Institute of Transport Economics. The current project leader for Handbook of Road Safety Measures is Alena Katharina Høye. Previous project leaders are Rune Elvik (1984-2006) and Trond O. Pedersen (1978-1984). Most chapters are written and revised by the Institute of Transport Economics.

Current editors of the Handbook of Road Safety Measures are Alena Katharina Høye and Rune Elvik.

The Handbook of Road Safety Measures is funded by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and the Norwegian Ministry of Transport. In 2010 and 2011, the Swedish Transport Administration contributed with funding, and researches from VTI were involved in the revision of some chapters.

Contents and structure

The first part of Handbook of Road Safety Measures contains background information as a guide for the reader. This first part was revised in 2019, and published as a (Norwegian) report. The full report (including an English summary) is available here (pdf file, opens in new tab).

The main part of the Handbook of Road Safety Measures contains the following ten chapters, each containing subchapters about specific road safety measures:

  1. Road design and road equipment
  2. Road maintenance
  3. Traffic control
  4. Vehicle design and protective devices
  5. Vehicle and garage inspection
  6. Driver training and regulation of professional drivers
  7. Public education and information
  8. Enforcement and sanctions
  9. Post-accident care
  10. General-purpose policy instruments

Each of the subchapters describing specific road safety measures contains the following sections:

Problem and objective. This section describes the road safety problem which the measure is designed to solve or reduce. A road safety problem can be described in terms of a high number of accidents, a high accident rate or a high proportion of serious injuries. However, not all road safety problems can be described exhaustively in numerical terms only. This applies, for example, to the feeling of insecurity that some road users experience. Some of the measures described in the Handbook have primarily other aims than improving road safety, such as reducing travel times or improving conditions for walking and cycling.

Description of the measure. This section gives information concerning the design of a road safety measure and its intended function. The main focus is on how a measure is used in those evaluation studies that are summarized in the section about crash effects. Detailed technical descriptions are not given.

Effect on accidents. This section deals with the effects on accidents, or on the severity of injury in accidents, which have been found in research. Effects are stated in terms of the percentage change of the number of accidents or injuries, based on systematic reviews and, whenever possible, meta-analysis. Confidence intervals and the most important sources of uncertainty are described as well. For measures where no studies have been found that quantify effects on road safety, qualitative reviews are conducted.

Effect on mobility. In addition to the effect on accidents and injuries, many road safety measures also have effects on mobility. These impacts are briefly described, but not in as great detail as safety effects.

Effects on the environment. Effects on the environment are briefly described. Such effects include traffic noise and air pollution in a wide sense of these terms. Major incursions into the landscape and changes in land use should also be regarded as important environmental effects.

Costs and cost-benefit analysis. For the majority of measures, information is given regarding the cost of the measure in Norway. Cost-benefit analyses are presented whenever available. However, the results of cost-benefit analyses depend strongly on the context to which they refer. Monetary valuations of impacts, which are a key element of cost-benefit analysis, vary substantially between countries. As a rule, one would therefore not expect the results of cost-benefit analyses made in one country to apply directly to another country. The context to which most of the analyses presented refer, is the current situation in Norway.

Contact us

We are continuously working to improve the Handbook of Road Safety Measures. If you have any feedback, please write us at tsh@toi.no