Road Safety News

New web-based tool provides evidence to support decision making

Tuesday 10th October 2017

Researchers have developed a new web-based tool to assist road safety stakeholders in their evidence based decision making.

The SafetyCube European Road Safety Decision Support System (SafetyCube DSS) offers ‘for the first time worldwide’, scientific evidence on the effects of various road safety risks alongside related countermeasures covering road user behaviour, roads infrastructure, vehicles and post-crash care.

The tool has been developed by SafetyCube - a collaborative research project with 17 partner institutions, funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Launched in 2015, the three-year SafetyCube project is being led by Professor Pete Thomas from Loughborough University.

Unveiled on 5 October, the SafetyCube DSS comprises an ‘innovative’ road safety tool that enables policy-makers and stakeholders to implement the ‘most appropriate strategies, measures and cost-effective approaches’ to reduce casualties across Europe.  

SafetyCube DSS allows users to search a number of different categories including risk factors, measures, road user groups and accident categories.

Developers say the tool is a ‘rich road safety resource for every decision maker, stakeholder and expert who is involved in investigating road safety risks or reviewing safety countermeasures’.

Category: General news.



Comment on this story
Report a reader comment

What's your view - comment on this story:

I confirm that I have read and accept the moderation policy and house rules relating to comments posted on this website.
Your comment:
Your name and location:
Your email:

I was present at the IRTAD conference last week where there were several presentations on the Safety Cube project. It’s a very impressive tool for road safety professionals, although parts of it are similar to our own road safety observatory. It definitely takes things to the next level though in terms of summarising the available evidence (scientific evidence doesn’t have to take the form of an RCT). It also has a ‘Decision Support System’ which will eventually provide more clear guidance on interventions / countermeasures with defined BCR values. Interestingly they have identified speed cameras as one of the interventions with the highest BCR value due to the weight of evidence available from around the globe.

I have already used the tool to find out information for a pedestrian safety scheme and will refer to it regularly in my work.
Richard Owen

Agree (3) | Disagree (3)

Jeremy's list of factors (his first para) is quite comprehensive, however one of them - 'behavioural and cognitive psychology' seems to me to be the most relevant and if we can 'correct' that, then the other factors are probably far less relevant -if at all. Mind you if there is a revolutionary way to change people's behaviour for the good, a lot of other society's problems could be sorted at the same time.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

The clue as to the value and place of this project is very much in the title I think. This is a decision support – rather than decision making – system and is likely to offer a very useful reference point for those needing to make informed judgements about interventions. The breadth of topics covered by ‘road safety’ – including highway design; materials technology; structural engineering; maintenance; ergonomics; marketing; behavioural and cognitive psychology; physiology; enforcement (apprehension and disposal); legislation; vehicle design; primary, secondary and tertiary safety measures - and the complex interaction of all these factors in real world road use - means that any project that attempts to cover all bases is going to be seriously ambitious.

If, during the three year span of the project, those behind it are able to demonstrate the practical value of bringing related studies together so that practitioners can make more informed judgements about interventions then they will have achieved something of significant value. If they are able to grow the project and maintain pace with new studies published, continuously adding to and refining our understanding of what works – and identifying weaknesses and blind spots in our knowledge to encourage further research – then so much the better.

I’m rather looking forward to using this in anger and seeing where it, as a single resource, helps decision making across the breadth of professional services that come together under the road safety banner in a local highway authority setting.
Jeremy, Devon

Agree (5) | Disagree (2)

Thank you, Rachel, for your summary. The problem is, though, that there is an expression: "Rubbish in - rubbish out". No matter how good your methods are, if the reports you assess are of poor quality, the conclusions you reach may be wrong.

For example, have any of the SafetyCube DSS reports included an RCT scientific trial (Randomised Controlled Trial)? If not, have any reports measured (not just estimated) the RTM effect? If neither of those could be found, your conclusions may well be so far wrong as to be the opposite of the real effect.

There is a simple, cheap and accurate solution, just run RCT scientific trials.
dave finney

Agree (5) | Disagree (6)

On Dave's point, local authorities will have before and after recorded collision data at sites where highway improvements have been carried out. Of the three Es, engineering is probably the only one that can be most easily assessed by any change in recorded incidents and importantly, what those incidents were and also simply by observation.

With regard to the other two Es, I don't think there can be any doubt what the right corrective behaviour messages need to be, it's knowing how to best get those messages to those who need to hear it and get them to actually respond and comply. Assessing any subsequent improvement objectively would seem to me to be impossible and self-reporting by recipients of road safety messages is not particularly reliable.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)

The content of the SafetyCube DSS has been generated by conducting systematic literature reviews of peer reviewed scientific papers. Studies were selected for inclusion if they reported a quantifiable effect and had a control group. Those with methodologies that were more objective e.g. before and after studies, with crash counts, were selected before those with more subjective methodologies e.g. questionnaire. There are over a hundred topic summary PDFs that can be downloaded and the details of all the studies (abstract, effect size etc) associated with them can also be found within the DSS (around 1000).
Rachel Talbot. Loughborough University

Agree (3) | Disagree (2)

Definition of "evidence"

"the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid."

No mention of Randomised Control Trials in that.
Rod King, Warrington, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (7) | Disagree (0)

I agree with Hugh, I was struggling to find anything that constituted real evidence, and certainly found no scientific trials.

I present the following hypothesis:
"There have been no scientific trials (RCTs) of any road safety intervention where changes in collision rates were the measure (except for ABS on taxis in New York)".

To disagree with the above statement, simply post a link to the report that does have such an RCT (from anywhere worldwide).
dave finney

Agree (5) | Disagree (2)

From what I've read so far on the website, the research does not so much give us "for the first time....scientific evidence" as claimed - it seems to be more 'probabilities', 'suggested links' 'in general' 'likelihood' etc. rather than anything concrete. In other words, nothing that could not be deduced by those already working in this field. Not the fault of those behind the website perhaps, but the nature of the subject matter itself not lending itself easily to analysis and the difficulty in establishing proof of successful interventions.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (1)