Road-safety-II: Opportunities and barriers for an enhanced road safety vision

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Road safety research is largely focused on prediction and prevention of technical, human or organisational failures that may result in critical conflicts or crashes. Indicators of traffic risk aim to capture the passage to unsafe states. However, research in other industries has shown that it is meaningful to analyse safety along the whole spectrum of behaviours. Knowing the causes and patterns of “successful” interactions, rather than failures, could give new insights on the complexity of the system and the adaptability and resilience of its users in handling the inherent risks. The concept is known as Safety-II and has been extensively explored in the aviation, healthcare and process engineering domains. In this paper, we explore a new Safety-II paradigm for road safety research. We briefly review Safety-II applications in other sectors. We then present a Safety-II model for road safety, by means of an inverse version of Hyden's “safety pyramid”. Furthermore, we discuss a number of key road safety goals, theories, analysis methods and data sources and map them into a tentative taxonomy of Safety-I and Safety-II applications. It is concluded that there can be opportunities and benefits from adopting this new mindset, in order to complement existing approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106723
Number of pages7
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Driver behaviour
  • Road safety
  • Safety-II
  • Traffic conflicts


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