208661 Highway Safety and Foresight Issues

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 11:30 AM

Nancy J. Donovan, MPA , Applied Research and Methods, US Government Accountability Office, Washington, DC
Fatalities on U.S. roads total over 40,000 each year. Although past technology developments and government actions substantially reduced fatality rates, earlier progress has now slowed. Projections suggest that as many as 500,000 deaths could occur on U.S. roads between now and 2020, unless vehicle miles traveled substantially decrease or progress in reducing fatality rates improves. Future reductions may require addressing new trends such as evolving crash-avoidance technologies and rapidly changing electronic devices, such as cell phones, that may distract drivers who use them on the road. At the request of the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined selected technology trends which have the potential to transform highway safety as well as how the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is addressing these trends. Since there is no governmentwide guidance on how federal agencies should conduct foresight across a time horizon more than 5 years forward, GAO developed a conceptual framework characterizing agency foresight activities and based this on literature and interviews with public health, foresight and other experts. This framework can be used to describe how an organization such as DOT has addressed trends in the area of crash-avoidance and electronic devices, such as cell phones. Issues examined include: decision-making on new fast-moving trends that can affect highway safety, whether new data systems and analytic techniques are needed to provide information on such trends, and strategies that could be employed in communication to policy-makers about these and other trends.

Learning Objectives:
Assess relevance of conceptual frameworks for understanding emerging trends in highway safety

Keywords: Decision-Making, Emerging Health Issues

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Role as project manager on material to be presented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.