Lösningar’s approach to planning​

How to reach zero road trauma

Our Approach
Vision based planning using simple evidence based tools

To achieve this goal we place a focus on the metrics of what a safe road system should look like and how the current road system is tracking towards this desired state. Backcasting is a vision based planning approach which can assist with this.

Developed in response to long-term complex issues, backcasting has been used in a wide variety of applications right across the globe. In Sweden road safety planners adapted and applied backcasting in planning for zero road trauma.

Backcasting imagines and quantifies a desirable future state. It then works back in time to the present asking: What will need to occur in order to bring about the desired future state?

Planning for zero road trauma

the Vision






Specify the VISION

Without a vision there is no strategy. However, the vision must be tangible and credible for the strategic path to be both compelling and motivating. Being more accurate with your planning goal needs a greater understanding of your target. Without sufficient detail of what a Vision Zero road system should look like, it becomes impossible to choose the right pathway to make it happen.

Understanding the characteristics of the road system components that prevent serious injuries allows you to design a road system for zero trauma. You can then specify in detail the final state of the road system and choose countermeasures which target this result.

The final specification uses the Safe System model. Every part of the road network must be quantified with respect to infrastructure, vehicles, speeds and people. This is a big task but there is a constantly growing evidence base for specifying the target state for zero trauma roads.

SYSTEM Assessment

Understanding the current state of the road transport system is the basis for good planning.

It’s important because it tells us where the inherent risks are in the system and where death and serious injury are likely to happen in the future.

This requires collating metrics that align with those used to define the Safe System. This is also the phase for categorising road segments according to their strategic movement or place function in the road network.


gap analysis

Having quantified the target road system, this is then represented as a set of core indicator metrics. Using the metrics for the current and target road systems modelling can now be done to understand and quantify the gap between these.

Setting targets is a critical step here. For example:

  • How many kilometres of road need transformation or speed calming measures?
  • Which intersections do not meet Safe System standards?

Importantly this is the backcasted gap so it takes account of future transport trends to optimise the strategic path.

Quantifying this gap is essential. A later step in the process will make use of the precision in this definition to choose the right countermeasures to implement.

priority matrix

Understanding the trauma problem on your road network will enable you to prioritise investments and choose the best pathway to target achievement. Although road trauma shows global patterns, every place has unique problems.

Planning approaches to complex events such as road trauma typically use statistical methods to focus responses on the most common problems. Crashes occur mostly within
a relatively narrow band of circumstances. Appropriately, these circumstances are given a lot of attention and countermeasures are designed to address the trauma they produce.

Lösningar’s modelling technique goes one step further. We acknowledge the ongoing evolution of the road transport system and the need to address future challenges. The starting point is to create a baseline of the future trauma problem in a business-as-usual scenario. The characteristics of these future crashes are then used to model the benefit of different countermeasures based on your unique situation.

Lösningar also uses in-depth crash data to pay close attention to every severe crash. This allows us to better consider the combined effect of countermeasures as well as their individual impact over time. We investigate how crashes occurred and what mechanism led to the degree of injury suffered then ask:

“What responses are needed to eliminate each and every casualty from the future road system?”

All casualties are preventable. And Vision Zero means zero.

strategic response

Packaging effective and feasible countermeasures to reach the desired target is the purpose of planning. In this step a range of scenarios are developed and tested for their performance against the target trauma reduction and target date for reaching this.

Packages that fall short of the target are iteratively modified and remodelled until several effective scenarios are derived. This approach provides options for investment consideration when it comes to the allocation of resources.

This step also acknowledges that the road system is always changing. So much so, that the road system that your actions will impact is not the road system you use today. Aiming for the right interim target can optimise effort and allow investment to shift to more worthy activity.

performance dashboard

The end stage in the approach is concerned with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These are a suite of indicators across the road system. They will be used for ongoing monitoring and reporting on progress to close the gap to the desired road system.

These KPIs identify and illustrate changes in the things that matter, those that are critical to preventing death and serious injury. Collecting and making sense of data is costly. Reporting too much data can be overwhelming and lose the focus on what really matters.

Limiting success measures to serious injuries and fatalities is risky due to their volatility and variation between individual years. In contrast KPIs with a known relationship to trauma reduction, give the link between investments and systematic risk reductions greater validity.

By developing a useful set of easy to interpret metrics around the things that matter, you can move planning into a continuous check and adjust practice that maintains the course to zero road trauma.