Paper presented at the 30th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 11-14 July 2011 "Africa on the Move", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
Many road authorities, traffic engineers and road safety experts in South Africa believe
that the country's collision data is unreliable and incomplete. In the face of challenges
around data collection and dissemination, the Road Traffic Management Corporation
(RTMC) valiantly manages to compile and release annual assessments of the status of
collisions, casualties and other Indicators of road traffic across all nine provinces. This
annual analysis, which becomes the key source of intelligence upon which many policies and initiatives are constructed, is Inescapably limited by the quality of the source data. To date, the imperfections embedded in the data behind these reports have not been fully understood. By analysing the RTMC database (is' December 2001 to 7th April 2010), this report presents an overview of the types of data that are most frequently missing, incomplete or questionable. The analysis allows us to understand exactly how incomplete the underlying datasets are, and facilitates a more informed assessment of the generalisability and reliability of findings that emerge from them.
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