The vision of Sustainable Safety is an optimal approach to improve road safety, originating from the Netherlands. It is a vision that is shared by many road safety professionals. A sustainably safe road traffic system prevents road deaths, serious road injuries and permanent injury by systematically reducing the underlying risks of the entire traffic system. Human factors are the primary focus: by starting from the demands, competencies, limitations and vulnerabilities of people, the traffic system can be realistically adapted to achieve maximum safety.
This report briefly describes the recalibration of the vision that was first developed in the 1990s, subsequently implemented in the Netherlands on a large scale in 1998-2002, and updated a first time in 2005/2006. This third edition of the Sustainable Safety vision, is characterized by the following new aspects:
The five road safety principles are adapted from the previous principles and strengthened with new insights, thereby providing a basis for specialized solutions.
- Three of the five principles are design principles:
1. FUNCTIONALITY of roads;
2. (BIO)MECHANICS: limiting differences in speed, direction, mass and size, and giving road users appropriate protection;
3. PSYCHOLOGICS: aligning the design of the road traffic environment with road user competencies.
- The other two principles are organization principles now:
4. Effectively allocating RESPONSIBILITY;
5. LEARNING and INNOVATING in the traffic system.
- Concerning the design principles, vulnerable modes of transport (pedestrians and cyclists in particular) and the competence of older road users are the more explicit standard now.
- The third edition of the Sustainable Safety vision pays greater attention to cyclist crashes not involving motorized vehicles.
- Responsibility is emphasized with respect to the role and potential actions of stakeholders in realizing an inherently safe road traffic system.
- Sustainable Safety’s third edition advocates in-depth analysis of all fatal road crashes to learn from the things that still go wrong.
- Furthermore, this third edition of the vision calls for a pro-active and risk-based approach, using both crash statistics and road safety performance indicators (or surrogate safety measures) as safety indicators and as a basis for action.
The aim is to work systematically towards maximum road safety for everybody by means of this third edition of Sustainable Safety, the ultimate ambition being a casualty-free traffic system. In other words, in the end, every road user – be it schoolchild, commuter, commercial driver or active senior – will come home safely!