Traffic Safe Municipality: a Norwegian approval scheme to facilitate development of a municipal traffic safety culture




Safety Management System, Traffic Safe Municipality, Traffic Safety Culture


This study examines the consequences of being approved as a Traffic Safe Municipality for municipal traffic safety culture, based on surveys (n = 2255) and interviews (n = 17) in 24 municipalities. Traffic Safe Municipality is an approval scheme for Norwegian municipalities, which defines criteria for systematic traffic safety work. Development of a positive municipal traffic safety culture is an explicit aim of the approval scheme. The respondents in the survey state positive consequences for the traffic safety culture in their own workplace after being approved as a Traffic Safe Municipality. The self-reported focus on traffic safety has increased among immediate managers and among colleagues, and it has become easier to address issues related to traffic safety in one's own workplace. In multivariate statistical analyses, we see that these changes are also linked to the respondents stating that they think more about traffic safety in their everyday work and they state that they behave safer in traffic during working hours. The study has also mapped factors that promote or impede implementation of Traffic Safe Municipality. Lack of resources in the municipality, time pressure, high workload and replacement of personnel may hamper implementation, while top managers' involvement throughout the implementation period is one of the most important prerequisites for successful implementation. We conclude that Traffic Safe Municipality can be interpreted as a measure to establish a traffic safety culture through the implementation of a safety management system in the municipality. Such systems are required as a measure to create a positive safety culture in a number of different high-risk sectors (aviation, nuclear power, oil, and gas). Our study is unique, since we apply this perspective in the municipal sector.


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Author Biographies

Tor-Olav Nævestad, Institute of Transport Economics, Norway

Tor-Olav Nævestad heads the research group ‘Safety and Resilience’ at the Institute of Transport Economics in Oslo, Norway. He has been working on projects related to safety culture, safety management and regulation among companies and authorities in the transport sector and in high-risk sectors. One of the key themes in his research has been to develop an understanding of how the safety culture concept can be applied to private and professional road users, and how this understanding can be used to develop measures aiming to improve road safety. Tor-Olav Nævestad also conducts research on resilience and disaster risk management.

CrediT contribution: Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Writing—original draft.

Vibeke Milch, Institute of Transport Economics, Norway

Vibeke Milch is a psychologist and a senior researcher at the Institute of Transport Economics in Oslo, Norway. She is a member of the research group 'Safety and Resilience'. Milch has been involved in several research projects on safety management and resilience, in the transport sector as well as in the oil and gas sectors. A major theme in her research concerns safety in multi-actor collaborations, and how inter-organizational mechanisms influence safety management and resilience.

CRediT contribution: Conceptualization, Methodology, Writing—original draft.


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How to Cite

Nævestad, T.-O., & Milch, V. (2023). Traffic Safe Municipality: a Norwegian approval scheme to facilitate development of a municipal traffic safety culture. Traffic Safety Research, 5, 000025.