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Management by Objectives

Vision Zero is a long-term goal. Management that focuses on the fulfilment of concrete in the short term is the method used in Sweden for achieving final objectives. Annual follow-ups are conducted and the intermediate objectives are successively updated.

When Parliament in 1997 decided that Vision Zero should serve as the basis for traffic safety activities in Sweden, everyone was well-aware that it would not be possible to realise the vision immediately. On the other hand, there was a distinct awareness of the importance of having more immediate goals against which traffic safety efforts could be checked. Therefore, in 1998 Parliament adopted the intermediate objective that the number of people killed in traffic on Swedish roads would be halved by the year 2007. This meant that the number of people killed in traffic would not exceed 270, or in other words half the number of people killed on the roads in 1996. This objective was not achieved.

A new intermediate objective

In 2006, the Government commissioned the Swedish National Road Administration to propose a new intermediate objective for road safety development. In addition, the Road Administration was tasked with establishing the basic input for continued work in line with Vision Zero.

At the same time, independent assessments were made as to how the Swedish road safety work had been carried out to date. In this context it was concluded, among other things, that:

  • stakeholders, other than the Government and public authorities, with a potential to contribute to the objective were not involved in the development of the targets
  • setting an objective on fatalities did not give enough guidance for taking effective measures
  • the management of the road safety work had been unclear and insufficient
  • the monitoring and evaluation of the ongoing work had been inadequate.

In 2008, the Swedish Road Administration published a report entitled "The management of traffic safety work by objectives. Cooperation between players focusing on new milestones in 2020". In this, a proposal was made for a new system for the management of traffic safety work by objectives, which is based on three fundamental points:

  • Cooperation with stakeholders when developing intermediate objectives.
  • Intermediate objectives expressed both on the overall safety outcome (fatalities and severe injuries) but also for road safety performance indicators. These indicators describe a condition in road traffic with a verified relationship with the safety outcome, e.g. sober traffic, share of traffic volume on state roads with a high level of safety and . These conditions are based on the design principles of Vision Zero.
  • Systematic evaluation of the road safety performance annually. This evaluation is based on regular analysis of the final outcome of fatalities and serious injuries but also on the outcome of the road safety performance indicators. The evaluation is done in close collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders in the road safety arena.  

The report served as the basic starting point for the Government bill entitled "Objectives for future travel and transportation", which was adopted by Parliament and has since formed the basis for work on traffic safety in Sweden. The decision to adopt a new intermediate objective for traffic safety on the Swedish roads was made by Parliament in 2009, and means that the number of people killed in traffic in the year 2020 must not be more than 220.

Annual evaluation of the road safety performance 

The evaluation process involves the following phases:

  • Compilation and analysis of data. In this phase, a national analysis group gather data on fatalities, injuries and the different road safety performance indicators. The analysis is published in a report on the road safety trends of the previous year. The trends of the road safety performance indicators points out areas where additional efforts are needed.
  • Result conference. In this phase, stakeholders meet and discuss the findings of the report.
  • Common position. Selected stakeholders discuss and agree on a common position on priorities for the next review cycle.

Analysis of Road Safety Trends 2018

Management by objectives for road safety work towards the year 2020 interim targets:
This report is the tenth annual follow-up of the progress towards the Swedish 2020 road safety objectives. It describes and analyses road safety trends in Sweden 2018. As in previous years, results are analysed in terms of the number of fatalities and injured as well as a series of road safety performance indicators.

A new Plan for Action

Road safety work is entirely dependent on concerned authorities and stakeholders showing significant commitment and responsibility for shared objectives and ambitions. Effective measures need to be applied, both individually and in collaboration, in order for the set targets to be achieved. In an effort led by the Swedish Transport Administration, 14 authorities and stakeholders have specified what they intend to do over the coming four years to contribute to safe roads. This has resulted in a new document; an Action plan for safe road traffic in 2019–2022.