Enforcement technologies – changing hearts and minds through a new Safe System lens


Enforcement technologies – changing hearts and minds through a new Safe System lens

June 26, 2024

The late 1990s and 2000s were a time of historic ambition in the UK transport safety sector, epitomised most clearly by the significant innovations witnessed in enforcement technologies to help deliver safe roads for all. Indeed, this was one of the primary drivers of improved road safety performance across the decade until 2010, directly complementing other multi-sectoral measures stemming from enhancements in vehicle occupant safety; performance management and target setting around casualty reduction; as well as the proliferation of partnership working and novel funding mechanisms to explicitly pool together local capacities, expertise, and resource (Agilysis, 2022).

Successful interventions are those enabled by multiple Safe System levers – just as effectiveness is contingent on the use of a variety of behaviour change techniques (Michie et al., 2014). To derive strategic value from enforcement technology moving forward, we must better triangulate these levers with improved thinking around, and application of, behavioural measures; through a refreshed view as to what the Safe System really means for our modus operandi. Deeply ingrained tendencies centred on road user culpability for all safety outcomes still permeate current thinking (Job et al., 2022). To change this will require a critical re-examination of our priorities and whether widely used approaches match our growing recognition of the Safe System as the vehicle to deliver safe, sustainable, and equitable mobility.

As new technological capabilities in road transportation emerge, we risk being left behind the curve of market forces if we underestimate the potential for exponential growth - in which case, we will incur the inevitable consequences of inaction. The potential growth of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), micromobility modes, and mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) are all pressing examples, where stakeholders are scrambling to get ahead of the curve and push for the enactment of policies to regulate their development and safe operation. But to effectively nudge the road user, we must first nudge ourselves.


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