Who’s in control of the fatal five? A systems analysis of Queensland’s road transport system
Despite significant progress, road transport systems continue to kill people on a scale that is comparable to cancers, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory diseases. In Queensland (Qld), Australia, there is currently a targeted focus on reducing the ‘fatal five’ behaviours underpinning road trauma. Although progress is being made, researchers have argued that a new systems thinking approach is required in order to create more significant safety gains. This paper describes a study that used the STAMP systems analysis methodology to develop a control structure model of the road transport system in Qld. The control structure model depicts the actors/organisations within the Qld road transport system (e.g. road users, road designers, vehicle manufacturers, road safety authorities, research groups, government agencies, advocacy groups) along with the control relationships that exist between them. The analysis depicts a shared responsibility for the fatal five behaviours, and shows that, compared to other safety critical domains, there are less formal control structures and that opportunities exist to add new controls and strengthen existing ones. Further, current crash analysis systems are brought into question by the model. In closing the practical implications for road safety interventions are discussed.