Traffic Police Effectiveness and Efficiency Evaluations, an Overview of Methodological Considerations


1 Department of Epidemiology, School of Health, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran

2 Department of Epidemiology, Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention Research Center, School of Public Health, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran

3 Department of Epidemiology, School of Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran

4 Traffic Police of Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran, Iran

5 Department of Management, Faculty of Management and Economics, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


Every government implements various policies to mitigate road traffic injuries (RTIs). Many of these interventions are performed by traffic police. To evaluate effectiveness and efficiency of police enforcement, numerous studies have been conducted. Potential capabilities of epidemiology could get opportunity to improve these studies. The aim of this study was to extract and discuss some related methodological points of traffic police effectiveness and efficiency from related studies, in view of epidemiology discipline.

Evidence Acquisition
Related articles were searched with “traffic police”, “effectiveness”, “efficiency” and “road safety” keywords in ScienceDirect, PubMed and Safetylit databases. Related papers were selected and read carefully to summarize and discuss the epidemiological points with aims of giving clues to improve quality of studies.

From a total of 797 articles, 20 were eligible which among them 17 articles were about effectiveness and 3 of them were about efficiency evaluations. Discussed points were the method of study, taking a holistic view to all positive and negative side effects, desired inputs and outputs, relation pattern between police enforcement and outcome and potential confounders.

Better understanding of the effectiveness and efficiency mechanism and having valid evaluation required considering specific theories and points in this field. Applying a dynamic approach with considering epidemiological concepts and sophisticated statistical models could improve quality of studies in this field.


1. Mannering FL, Bhat CR. Analytic methods in accident research:

methodological frontier and future directions. Anal Methods Accid

Res. 2014;1:1–22.

2. Mathers C, Fat DM, Boerma JT. The global burden of disease: 2004 update.

Geneva: WHO; 2008.

3. Mahdian M, Sehat M, Fazel MR, Moraveji AR,MohammadzadehM. Epidemiology

of urban traffic accident victims hospitalized more than

24 hours in a level III trauma center, Kashan County, Iran, during 2012-

2013. Arch Trauma Res. 2015;4(2).

4. Kavosi Z, Jafari A, Hatam N, Enaami M. The economic burden of

traumatic brain injury due to fatal traffic accidents in shahid rajaei

trauma hospital, shiraz, iran. Arch Trauma Res. 2015;4(1):22594. doi:

10.5812/atr.22594. [PubMed: 25834791].

5. Boslaugh S. Encyclopedia of Epidemiology. New York: SAGE; 2008.

6. Last JM, Greenland S, Hernan M, Silva IS. In: A Dictionary of Epidemiology.

Porta M, editor. New York: Oxford University Press; 2001.

7. De Waard D, Rooijers T. An experimental study to evaluate the effectiveness

of different methods and intensities of law enforcement on

driving speed on motorways. Accident Anal Prev. 1994;26(6):751–65.

8. Walter L, Broughton J, Knowles J. The effects of increased police enforcement

along a route in London. Accid Anal Prev. 2011;43(3):1219–27.

doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2011.01.003. [PubMed: 21376921].

9. Goldenbeld C, van Schagen I. The effects of speed enforcement with

mobile radar on speed and accidents. An evaluation study on rural

roads in theDutchprovince Friesland. Accid Anal Prev. 2005;37(6):1135–

44. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2005.06.011. [PubMed: 16051180].

10. Newstead SV, Cameron MH, Leggett LMW. The crash reduction effectiveness

of a network-wide traffic police deployment system. Accident

Anal Prev. 2001;33(3):393–406.

11. Hakkert AS, Gitelman V, Cohen A, Doveh E, Umansky T. The evaluation

of effects on driver behavior and accidents of concentrated

general enforcement on interurban roads in Israel. Accid Anal Prev.

2001;33(1):43–63. [PubMed: 11189121].

12. Yannis G, Papadimitriou E, Antoniou C. Multilevel modelling for the

regional effect of enforcement on road accidents. Accid Anal Prev.

2007;39(4):818–25. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2006.12.004. [PubMed: 17274938].

13. Egilmez G, McAvoy D. Benchmarking road safety of U.S. states: a

DEA-based Malmquist productivity index approach. Accid Anal Prev.

2013;53:55–64. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2012.12.038. [PubMed: 23376545].

14. Shen Y, Hermans E, Ruan D, Wets G, Brijs T, Vanhoof K. Road safety

performance evaluation based on a multiple layer data envelopment

analysis model. IRTAD. Seoul. 2009. pp. 315–23.

15. Hermans E, Brijs T, Wets G, Vanhoof K. Benchmarking road safety:

lessons to learn from a data envelopment analysis. Accid Anal Prev.

2009;41(1):174–82. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2008.10.010. [PubMed: 19114152].

16. Aristovnik A, Seljak J, Mencinger J. Relative efficiency of police directorates

in Slovenia: A non-parametric analysis. Expert Syst Appl.


17. Quimby A, Downing C, Callahan C. Road users’ attitudes to some road

safety and transportation issues. UK: National Highway Traffic Safety

Administration; 1991.

18. Grayson G. Driver behaviour. Proceedings of the Safety 91 Conference

Wokingham. Berkshire. Transport Research Laboratory (TRL); .

19. Rothman KJ, Greenland S, Lash TL. Modern epidemiology. USA: Lippincott

Williams & Wilkins; 2008.

20. Laurence RH. Deterring the drinking driver. USA: National Highway

Traffic Safety Administration; 1982. p. 129.

21. Elvik R. How would setting policy priorities according to cost–benefit

analyses affect the provision of road safety?. Accident Anal Prev.


22. Wegman F, Oppe S. Benchmarking road safety performances of countries.

Safety Sci. 2010;48(9):1203–11.

23. Wegman F, Commandeur J, Doveh E, Eksler V, Gitelman V, Hakkert S,

et al. SUNflowerNext: Towards a composite road safety performance

index. Netherlands: SWOV; 2008.

24. Hermans E, Van den Bossche F,Wets G. Combining road safety information

in a performance index. Accid Anal Prev. 2008;40(4):1337–44.

doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2008.02.004. [PubMed: 18606264].

25. Ren De Zhang Hong Bin Y, Fang SPL. The Study of DEA Evaluating

Model on Road Traffic Safety. Proceedings of the World Congress on

Engineering. UK. .

26. Gitelman V, Doveh E, Hakkert S. Designing a composite indicator for

road safety. Safety Sci. 2010;48(9):1212–24. doi: 10.1016/j.ssci.2010.01.011.

27. Shen Y, Hermans E, Ruan D, Wets G, Vanhoof K, Brijs TA. Generalized

multiple layer data envelopment analysis model. Proceedings of the

4th international conference on intelligent systems and knowledge

engineering(ISKE’09).World Scientific; .

28. Hassan MN, Hawas YE, Maraqa MA. A holistic approach for assessing

traffic safety in the United Arab Emirates. Accid Anal Prev. 2012;45:554–

64. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2011.09.009. [PubMed: 22269542].

29. MaZ, Shao C,MaS, Ye Z. Constructing road safety performance indicators

using Fuzzy Delphi Method and Grey Delphi Method. Expert Syst

Appl. 2011;38(3):1509–14. doi: 10.1016/j.eswa.2010.07.062.

30. Papadimitriou E, Yannis G. Is road safety management linked to

road safety performance?. Accid Anal Prev. 2013;59:593–603. doi:

10.1016/j.aap.2013.07.015. [PubMed: 23969271].

31. Chen F, Wang J, Deng Y. Road safety risk evaluation by means

of improved entropy TOPSIS–RSR. Safety Sci. 2015;79:39–54. doi:


32. Achterberg F. In: Raising Compliance with Road Safety Law. Road Safty

Pin Report , editor. 1. UK: ETSC; 2007.

33. Munden JM. An experiment in enforcing the 30 mile/h speed limit.

UK: Road Research Laboratory; 1966. p. 28.

34. Cirillo JA. Interstate system accident research study II, interim report

II-Public roads. 3. ; 1968.

35. Newstead SV, Bobevski I, Hosking S, Cameron MH. Evaluation of the

Queensland road safety initiatives package. Australia: RSIP; 2004.

36. Nardo M, Saisana M, Saltelli A, Tarantola S, Hoffman A, Giovannini

E. Handbook on constructing composite indicators. France: OECD;

2005. p. 158.

37. Oei HL. Automatic Speed Management in the Netherlands. Transport

Res Rec. 1996;1560:57–64. doi: 10.3141/1560-09.

38. Elvik R. Cost-Benefit Analysis of Police Enforcement: Report ESCAPE

project-Working Paper. ; 2001.

39. Elvik R. Cost-benefit analysis of police enforcement 2001. [cited

Feb 2004]. Available from:


40. Bjørnskau T, Elvik R. Can road traffic law enforcement permanently

reduce the number of accidents?. Accident Anal Prev. 1992;24(5):507–

20. doi: 10.1016/0001-4575(92)90059-r.

41. Shinar D, McKnight AJ. Human behavior and traffic safety. USA:

Springer; 1985. pp. 385–419.The effects of enforcement and public information

on compliance.

42. Rothengatter T. Risk and the absence of pleasure: a motivational approach

to modelling road user behaviour. Ergonomics. 1988;31(4):599–

607. doi: 10.1080/00140138808966702.

43. Rodgers G. Reducing bicycle accidents: A reevaluation of the impacts

of the CPSC bicycle standard and helmet use. J PROD LIABIL.


44. Janssen W. Seat-belt wearing and driving behavior: an instrumentedvehicle

study. Accident Anal Prev. 1994;26(2):249–61.

45. Aschenbrenner KM, Biehl B. Improved safety through improved technical

measures?. Germany: Transport Research Laboratory; 1994.

46. Elvik R. To what extent can theory account for the findings of road

safety evaluation studies?. Accid Anal Prev. 2004;36(5):841–9. doi:

10.1016/j.aap.2003.08.003. [PubMed: 15203361].

47. Hollnagel E. Barriers and accident prevention. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate;

2004. p. 226.

48. Delorme R, Lassarre S. A new theory of complexity for safety research.

The case of the long-lasting gap in road safety outcomes

between France and Great Britain. Safety Sci. 2014;70:488–503. doi:


49. Mehmood A. An integrated approach to evaluate policies for controlling

traffic law violations. Accid Anal Prev. 2010;42(2):427–36. doi:

10.1016/j.aap.2009.09.004. [PubMed: 20159063].

50. Chen G, Meckle W, Wilson J. Speed and safety effect of photo radar

enforcementonahighwaycorridor in British Columbia. Accident Anal

Prev. 2002;34(2):129–38. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(01)00006-9.

51. Aristovnik A, Seljak J, Mencinger J. Performance measurement of police

forces at the local level: A non-parametric mathematical programming

approach. Expert Syst Appl. 2014;41(4):1647–53.

52. Bhalla K, Li Q, Duan L, Wang Y, Bishai D, Hyder AA. The prevalence of

speeding and drunk driving in two cities in China: a mid project evaluation

of ongoing road safety interventions. Injury. 2013;44 Suppl

4:S49–56. doi: 10.1016/S0020-1383(13)70213-4. [PubMed: 24377780].

53. Ferris J, Mazerolle L, King M, Bates L, Bennett S, Devaney M. Random

breath testing in Queensland and Western Australia: examination

of how the random breath testing rate influences alcohol

related traffic crash rates. Accid Anal Prev. 2013;60:181–8. doi:

10.1016/j.aap.2013.08.018. [PubMed: 24060440].

54. Yannis G, Papadimitriou E, Antoniou C. Impact of enforcement on

traffic accidents and fatalities: A multivariate multilevel analysis.

Safety Sci. 2008;46(5):738–50.

55. Jones AP, Sauerzapf V, Haynes R. The effects of mobile speed camera

introduction on road traffic crashes and casualties in a rural county

of England. J Safety Res. 2008;39(1):101–10. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2007.10.011.

[PubMed: 18325421].

56. Dula CS, Dwyer WO, LeVerne G. Policing the drunk driver: measuring

lawenforcement involvement in reducing alcohol-impaired driving.

J Safety Res. 2007;38(3):267–72. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2006.10.007. [PubMed:


57. Tay R. The effectiveness of enforcement and publicity campaigns

on serious crashes involving young male drivers: Are drink driving

and speeding similar?. Accid Anal Prev. 2005;37(5):922–9. doi:

10.1016/j.aap.2005.04.010. [PubMed: 15925317].

58. Beenstock M, Gafni D, Goldin E. The effect of traffic policing on road

safety in Israel. Accid Anal Prev. 2001;33(1):73–80. [PubMed: 11189123].

59. Vollrath M. Detecting intoxicated drivers in Germany – estimating

the effectiveness of police tests. Accid Anal Prev. 2000;32(5):665–72.

[PubMed: 10908139].

60. Vaa T. Increased police enforcement: effects on speed. Accid Anal Prev.

1997;29(3):373–85. [PubMed: 9183475].

61. Holland CA, Conner MT. Exceeding the speed limit: an evaluation

of the effectiveness of a police intervention. Accid Anal Prev.

1996;28(5):587–97. [PubMed: 8899040].

62. Hauer E, Ahlin FJ, Bowser JS. Speed enforcement and speed choice. Accident

Anal Prev. 1982;14(4):267–78.