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Safe Systems Approach

The Safe System approach places an emphasis on roadway design to anticipate people making mistakes and reducing the impact of crashes.

A Safe System approach incorporates the following principles:

  • Deaths and serious injuries are unacceptable – Crashes will happen, but crashes should not result in death and serious injuries.
  • Humans make mistakes – People will inevitably make mistakes and decisions that may lead to crashes, but roads can be designed to minimize the impact of mistakes.
  • Humans are vulnerable – We have our limits when traveling outside of vehicles. When we reduce speeds, we help reduce the severity of injuries and risk of death when there’s a crash. Designing a system that protects these vulnerabilities, such as additional time for drivers to stop and improving visibility, are critical.
  • Responsibility is shared – Safety must address all road users – people who walk, bike, ride transit, or travel by other modes. Everyone plays a role in preventing deaths and serious injuries on roads.
  • Safety is proactive – Safety concerns should be identified and addressed before crashes happen.
  • Redundancy is crucial – Reducing severe injury and deadly crashes requires all parts of the transportation system to be improved. If one part does not work, the other parts still offer forms of protection.
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