20th Westminster Lecture

Putting People at the Centre: How to Enhance Road Safety in the 21st Century.

Fred Wegman, Managing Director, SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research


Fred Wegman has been Managing Director of SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research since April 1999. He is an advisor to the Dutch Ministry of Transport and to the Dutch Parliament. He is Chairman of the ETSC working party on Road Safety Performance Indicators, and Chairman of several SUNflower projects. At international level, he has been an advisor to the WHO and World Bank and chairs the International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group of the OECD. Since January 2009 he has been a part-time professor of Road Safety at Delft University of Technology.


The United Kingdom has been a good example for improving road safety for decades and an inspiration for many with its reputation for evidence-based policies; good implementation; and the expertise and dedication of its safety professionals. However, progress has slowed, as in many high-motorised and well-performing countries, and there is a need for new approaches.

Two promising lines of development can be identified.The first is one of performing better with existing measures and, through optimisation and quality assurance, achieving more positive effects from them.This requires sound and comprehensive monitoring and
evaluation emphasising the ‘dose-response’ relationship. Based on monitoring results policymakers recommend an increased level and/or higher quality implementation of existing interventions and expect further progress from this. However the result is unlikely to be a dramatic decline in deaths and injuries. Over the last decade this has been the approach favoured in the UK.

The second line is to develop strategies to reach very aspirational targets. Here we talk about adopting new visions, making them operational by using interim, empirical based
targets.The UK seems to be hesitant to embark on this approach, unlike developments
in Sweden and the Netherlands, and recently documented in the OECD study:
‘Towards Zero: Ambitious road safety targets and the safe system approach’.
The lecture introduces this new way of thinking and discusses its ‘achievability’, consequences and implications.This new approach puts the human being at its focal point and attempts to “nudge” human behaviour in a safe direction by creating safe conditions. This will only be possible if all road authorities accept and follow this approach and offer road users predictable roads and credible legislation.

A printed copy of Fred Wegman’s Lecture will be circulated after the event with a downloadable copy available here.


18.00    Registration

18.30    Lecture

19.45    Dinner

21.00   After dinner speeches from a range of people involved in transport safety over the last 20 years

22.00  Close

Download the event brochure

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