Together with former SWOV managing directors Fred Wegman and Peter van der Knaap, SWOV researcher Aarts coauthored the article 'Sustainable Safety: A short history of a safe system approach in the Netherlands' in 'The Vision Zero Handbook'.
Although it has never been a real top priority, road safety is an important issue in the Netherlands and much progress has been made. In the last 50 years, the country experienced an enormous growth in population (+30%) and in kilometers travelled (+300%), but the mortality rate dropped by 80%. Many effective interventions were taken. Over time, new insights in traffic risks and causes of crashes led to the adoption of a new road safety vision in the early 1990s: Sustainable Safety, the first attempt worldwide of a Safe System approach (1992). This vision was inspired by the UN-Brundtland report Our Common Future (1987) and applied to road safety. Its basis originated in the knowledge and experiences in the decades before.