Road safety policy
Publication Year: 2013

From Theory to Practice in Road Safety Policy: Understanding Risk versus Mobility


Noland, R.B. 2013. “From Theory to Practice in Road Safety Policy: Understanding Risk versus Mobility.” Research in Transportation Economics 43(1): 71-84.


This paper reviews theoretical issues surrounding transport safety modeling and the implications for road safety policy. The behavioral mechanisms that affect transport safety are typically not considered in safety modeling. These issues are discussed in the context of trade-offs between risk-taking, as perceived by travelers, and other mobility objectives and the attributes associated with them. This is an extension of other theoretical frameworks, such as risk compensation, and attempts to integrate some of the previous frameworks developed over the years. Various examples of behavioral adaptation to specific policies are discussed and linked to the framework. These issues are then discussed in the context of improvements to empirical work in this area and the linkage of theoretical frameworks to crash modeling, in particular the estimation and use of Crash Modification Factors. Conclusions suggest that there are many deficiencies in practice, from estimation of models to choice of effective policies. Progress is being made on the former, while the publication of practical guidance seems to have substantial lags in knowledge.

Subject Areas

Health & Safety | Policy | Research
Additional Topics
cost | risk compensation | safety