Loughborough University
MStaton THESIS FINAL-combined.pdf (12.39 MB)

Targeting Road Injury Prevention (TRIP): a systems approach to road safety management

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posted on 2024-03-26, 14:25 authored by Matt Staton

Despite the UK having one of the lowest road casualty rates per head of population in the world, more than 1,500 people are killed in road traffic collisions every year, and progress in reducing casualties since 2010 has been limited. Actors in the road safety industry are united in a common goal to reduce road traffic injuries, yet how this should be achieved is debated and current road safety practice does not reflect actions in other safety industries. The main aim of this thesis is to understand how decision-making happens in road safety and, using lessons from research and other safety industries, present opportunities for how road safety can be shaped in the future. This thesis contributes to recent scholarly attempts to introduce system-based approaches to the road safety field by demonstrating the application of one such approach – Systems-Theoretic Accident Method and Processes (STAMP) – in the municipal area of Cambridgeshire, UK.

Undertaken from the perspective of a practitioner-researcher, this thesis provides the first practical application of the STAMP method to road safety in the UK. The research includes a review of the existing literature which outlines how thinking towards safety has progressed since the beginning of the 20th Century and highlights the gaps between current road safety practice and that developed in other industries.

The STAMP method is applied in three ways. First, to map the actors involved in the industry and the control structure for the road safety management system. This work was then used to identify key actors in the system who were interviewed to understand how decision-making happens and the barriers and facilitators to the use of research evidence in practice. Second, the Casual Analysis based on System Theory (CAST) application of STAMP was used to investigate ten fatal road traffic collisions. Third, the findings from the previous applications were combined in an organisational and social analysis using System-Theoretic Process Analysis (STPA) to generate recommendations to improve practice.

This thesis provides further evidence that a research-practice gap exists in the road safety field and that decision-making in the industry is currently rooted in person-based approaches. To address this, the thesis demonstrates that the STAMP method is a valid system-based approach to road safety management at a municipal level and concludes with five high-level recommendations to improve the road safety management system.


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Loughborough University

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© Matt Staton

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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Jo Barnes ; Andrew Morris ; Patrick Waterson

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  • Doctoral

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