Traffic Safety Cultures and Safe Systems Approach – Towards a Cultural Change Research and Innovation Agenda
for Road Safety

Project in the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020

TraSaCu will be conducted by 13 academic and non-academic organisations from 9 countries, which will be coordinated by the Austrian Road Safety Board. We are looking forward to the cooperation with the international consortium for the next 36 months!

About TraSaCu

The cultural approach to traffic safety is a new research perspective which has emerged recently, especially in the US. It is part of the safe systems approach in recent safety research.
Safety culture has been identified as an important factor of road safety as it helps understand and explain the typical patterns of risk perception and risk taking that prevail in different national, regional or local traffic systems. The starting point of the project will be a pragmatic definition of traffic safety culture given by the US DOT safety council (2011): Safety culture can be understood as the shared values, actions, and behaviours that demonstrate a commitment to safety over competing goals and demands.

Traffic safety culture and accidents are strongly related: A strong safety culture helps reduce the number of accidents as well as mitigate their severity. It strengthens safety relevant attitudes and behaviour and is a condition for making road safety measures more effective.

The project brings together expertise in engineering (vehicle safety, road building, traffic system planning) as well as in the sciences of human action (psychology, sociology, anthropology) in order to develop a comprehensive framework of traffic safety culture that is useful for practical work in road safety as well as for academic research. Knowledge exchange will be a core element of the project, not only via the researchers that are seconded between partner organisations but also through a knowledge platform that will be created for the partners as well as for the public. The project will also include data from naturalistic driving studies that has not been used in the context of cultural analysis before. A major focus will be on factors that can be changed comparatively easy under given cultural conditions in order to contribute to road safety work in practice.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 645690.