Design School


Investigating Accidents

Group: Behavioural Safety Research Group

Project: DaCoTA – Road Safety Data Collection, Transfer and Analysis

Aiming to reduce casualties worldwide through data & knowledge-based policy-making This project developed the European Road Safety Observatory that now provides consistent road safety data for EU 27.



Pete Thomas

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DaCoTA prepared the European Road Safety Observatory, ERSO, which is now incorporated within the EC DG-Move website. The project developed a series of approaches to synthesise road safety data according to new protocols developed within the project. The project deliverables included statistical comparisons of road safety between countries, forecasting of future road safety conditions, and the development of new information transfer modalities.

The team as a whole gathered and analysed data from 30 European countries on a wide range of road safety topics. The aim was to share the benefits of this leading-edge research and the decision-making tools with the international Road Safety Community in an effort to reduce casualties worldwide through data and knowledge-based policy-making.

The DaCoTA team made the following recommendations:

1. Establish terms of reference for the operation and future development of ERSO
These will ensure clarity over the objectives of ERSO and the manner in which it operates within the Commission and with external stakeholders. They will detail the participation of the Directorates-General of the EC, Member States, industry stakeholders and others and will embed the operational parameters of the Observatory. 

2. Establish an advisory body
The Observatory will rely on knowledge and data from Member States and other stakeholders to be fully effective. However it is also a service for road safety policymakers and it must continue to meet their needs. The Member States particularly are more than data providers and should have the opportunity to guide the future operation and development of ERSO. 

3. Establish a funding stream for routine data collection
A routine funding stream is necessary for the future operation of ERSO, this will cover the costs of gathering and processing data, any special surveys that may be required, updating of the data tools and knowledge and maintaining the ERSO infrastructure. Precise costs have not been estimated since they depend heavily on the exact content of the Observatory but a similar activity in the US is budgeted at over $34m annually.

4.Priority data gap – in-depth accident data

The lack of European in-depth accident data is a major obstacle to a detailed understanding of the causes of accidents and injuries. A large-scale pilot study is now needed to implement regular collection of in-depth data across the EU, the teams established by DaCoTA in 18 countries provides the best platform available to achieve this. 

5. Recommendations for implementation of routine data functions
Establish a procedure whereby the following data types and tools are updated annually and made available on ERSO

  • Exposure data – gathered by Eurostat + special surveys
  • Safety Performance Indicators – gathered by special surveys
  • Medium depth data on fatal accidents – gathered by enhancing national data
  • Basic fact sheets
  • Annual statistical report
  • Country overviews
  • Website – annual enhancement and updating 

6. Establish a procedure whereby the following data types and tools are updated periodically and made available on ERSO

 State of the art reviews – update and enhance every two years

 Country forecasts – update every three years

7. Establish a road safety policy support structure to enable ERSO data to be presented in the most efficient and accessible form for policy-makers

8. Establish a formal relationship between ERSO and the road safety research programme under H2020 to ensure the research programme to 2020 incorporates the needs of the developing Observatory.

9. Define a research programme in relation to ERSO to further develop road safety data tools and knowledge. Priority areas include

a. The causes of accidents and injuries in the EU to car occupant casualties
b. The causes of accidents and injuries to vulnerable road users in the EU
c. The causes of accidents involving specific target groups (eg children, level-crossings, older road users, new model cars etc.)
d. Data methods to assess the causes and social impacts of serious injuries
e. Real-world evaluation of performance of new safety systems
f. Impact of different road safety management strategies on casualty outcomes
g. Driving culture and safety
h. Development and implementation of a policy support framework for routine impact assessments
i. Development and implementation of a policy support framework for routine cost benefit evaluations of measures
j. Methodological improvements in naturalistic driving/riding (ND/NR) studies and FOTs
k. Naturalistic studies & FOTs for VRUs
l. Safety assessment of road infrastructures based on accident data
10. Ensure that results, reports, data and syntheses of all relevant H2020 research projects are made available in a suitable format to be incorporated within ERSO.

You can contact Professor Pete Thomas, Rachel Talbot, Dr Jo Barnes or Steve Reed for more information on DaCoTa or their other research.