Road Safety – Choice Architecture in Sweden..

This blog had earlier pointed to this fascinating story on how Sweden managed to lower its road accidents and deaths.

Gulzar adds to the discussion from a behavioral perspective. He is mostly alert to the various nudges being implemented around the world:

Sweden has the lowest road accident rates in the world, just 2.7 deaths per 1000,000 people last year. And it has been declining since the country adopted the Vision Zero goal to eliminate road accidents

Choice architecture has been the underlying theme behind its Vision Zero interventions,

In a departure from most American traffic safety approaches… Swedish authorities have generally dismissed the effects of education or enforcement on pedestrian safety… “Design around the human as we are,” said Claes Tingvall, the director of traffic safety at the Swedish Transport Administration and a godfather of the Vision Zero plan…. The result has been a sort of social contract between state and citizen: If residents follow the most basic traffic laws, engineers can design roads to guard against all fatalities.

One example is nudging to lower speed,

Potted vegetation is a traffic tool, placed on local roads to slow down drivers on straightaways… About 20 years ago, a now-defunct program allowed some homeowners to decide where speed bumps would be installed. The result: a hump every 20 meters in some neighborhoods, and some very slow trips home.

And nudging to reduce drunken driving,

In Sweden, nearly all school buses and government vehicles include built-in Breathalyzers, which prevent a car from starting if a driver is not sober. About one-third of Swedish taxis have also added the technology.

Nice stuff..

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