A Safe System Approach to Traffic Safety

​​​​​Safe system approach banner graphic.

Reaching zero traffic deaths requires a shift from the traditional driver-centric approach to the integrative, shared-responsibility Safe System approach.  This is a proven, effective strategy, first adopted in Sweden in the 1990s, to reduce motor vehicle crash-related deaths and serious injuries. In recent years, many US cities have adopted Vision Zero policies that are rooted in the Safe System approach.

On May 20, the National Transportation Safety Board will present a roundtable, entitled "A Safe System Approach to Traffic Safety." NTSB Member Tom Chapman will serve as moderator. Member Chapman and NTSB investigators will discuss investigations and studies related to vulnerable road users and why Protect Vulnerable Road Users through a Safe System Approach is on our Most Wanted List. Matts-Ake Belin, PhD, Swedish Transport Administration, will present on the Safe System approach including its history. Additionally, NTSB Member Jennifer Homendy, and other traffic safety experts will join the roundtable to discuss the elements of a Safe System, and ideas for improving road safety through a proactive, integrative, and shared responsibility approach at the national, state, and local levels.

Date: May 20, 2021

Time: 12:00-2:00 pm EST

Where: The roundtable will be webcast only. On the day of the event, you can access the webcast at this link http://ntsb.windrosemedia.com/.

Watch the event on the NTSB YouTube Channel


Registration and contact information


Download the panelest bios

Introduction/Opening Remarks:

NTSB Perspective and the Most Wanted List
Moderator/Presenter: Member Tom Chapman

USDOT Perspective and Transportation Safety Investments
Video Remarks:Polly Trottenberg, Deputy Secretary, US Department of Transportation


Topic 1:
Introduction, Background, and History of the Safe System Approach
Presenter: Matts-Ake Belin, PhD, Swedish Transport Administration


Topic 2:
National, State, and Local Perspectives

  • Matts-Ake Belin, PhD, Swedish Transport Administration
  • Rachel Carpenter, California Department of Transportation
  • Robin Hutcheson, US Department of Transportation
  • Betty Smoot-Madison, City of Atlanta, Department of Transportation
  • Jane Terry, National Safety Council

Topic 3:
Elements of the Safe System Approach

  • Tom Barth, PhD, NTSB
  • Natalie Draisin, FIA Foundation
  • Member Jennifer Homendy, NTSB
  • Adrian Lund, PhD, Towards Zero Foundation/Global NCAP
  • Jeff Paniati, Institute of Transportation Engineers
  • Brittany Rawlinson, PhD, NTSB

Wrap-up/Closing Remarks
Moderator: Member Tom Chapman