Completed 2017 Research Project

Implementing Safe Systems in the United States: Guiding principles and lessons from international practice

Principal Investigator 
Eric Dumbaugh
Florida Atlantic University
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Wes Kumfer
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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Full Report

Project Slide Deck

Research Brief


This report examines the state-of-the-practice in Safe Systems. It is divided into two sections.

The first examines the concept of Safe Systems, focusing on our emerging understanding of crash causation, as well as how this understanding may be applied to integrate safety considerations into transportation practice in the United States.

The second presents a review of the practices of the four countries with the most established Safe Systems programs—Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand—and details how each has structured their approach to road safety around Safe Systems principles.


  • Saha, D. P. Alluri, E. Dumbaugh, and A. Gan. (2020). Application of the Poisson-Tweedie Distribution in Analyzing Crash Frequency Data. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 137.
  • Dumbaugh, E, Merlin, L. and Saha, D. (2020, January). Towards Safe Systems: Traffic Safety, Cognition, Cognition, and the Built Environment. Journal of Planning Education and Research.
  • Saha, D. Dumbaugh, E., and Merlin, L. (2020, January). A Theoretical Framework to Understand the Role of Built Environment on Traffic Crashes: Implications for Transportation Planning and Policy Practice. Journal of Safety Research. University of California Institute of Transportation Studies (2019, December). Research Synthesis for AB 2363 Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force, California State Transportation Agency.
  • Saha, D. E. Dumbaugh, and L. Merlin. Macroscopic Crash Risk Factors on Urban Streets: An Examination of Environmental Correlates and Modelling Approaches. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. Submitted July 25, 2018.

Project Details

Project Type: Research
Project Status: Completed
Start Date: 3-1-2017
End Date: 10-31-2018
Contract Year: Year 1
Total Funding from CSCRS: $77,346
Co-sponsors: MacArthur Foundation Endowment
Collaborating Organizations: Florida Atlantic University; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill