Evaluation of local traffic safety plans
Plan evaluation has recently received considerable attention from planning scholars, while plan evaluation methods are not commonly used in practice. Evaluation tells decision-makers whether and how effectively their projects and policies have achieved their intended goals. In this study, the plan quality and plan content of 50 municipal road safety plans are analysed. The selected municipalities represent municipalities of various sizes in Norway. The purpose was to investigate which factors contribute to increase the quality of the plans, and which topics the plans mostly focus on. From our results we have arranged the municipalities into two main groups: first, we have looked at whether municipality sizes (small vs. larger) can explain any differences in plan quality; second, we have investigated whether there is a difference in plan content between municipalities that are involved in different types of local safety networking. The goal of a municipal traffic safety plan is to increase municipalities’ efforts in traffic safety work, especially preventing road accidents among school children. One quality characteristic is the description and prioritization both of measures that the municipality itself has control over, and measures controlled by other cooperating public agencies and private organizations with interests in traffic safety controls, within the municipality’s geographical delimitation. Our results demonstrate that for many plan documents, it is often difficult to reveal which actors have been involved in the plan-making process, and further which actors have responsibilities for the implementation. New expectations to plan content are mentioned, but are seldom discussed and usually do not lead to any new local policy or change measures. Our results will primarily inspire the municipalities to prepare better plans, but may also be a useful input to future revisions of national traffic safety plan guidelines.