The ‘total cost of road traffic crashes’ metric is an important road safety indicator that serves as the departure point for understanding the extent and magnitude of the road safety problem in a country and the stifling impact it has on efforts to eradicate poverty and grow the economy. The previous Road Traffic Crashes (RTCs) cost estimation was published in 2004 by the Department of Transport (DoT). Though it was useful for benefit/cost evaluation of road safety programmes and projects targeting specific types of RTCs and victim groups (the main purpose of the methodology used), the general view was that the methodology was cumbersome to apply and that the social costs elements of RTCs needed to be accounted more comprehensively. In September 2015 the Road Traffic Management Corporation commissioned the evaluation and review of the methodology of the 2004 DoT report (CoC 2004) with the overall aim to adopt a more user-friendly methodology to account appropriately for the local realities of the social and indirect cost of RTCs in the South African context. This paper provides an overview of the “Cost of Crashes 2016” project and of cost estimation outcomes of the various elements that make up the total cost of RTCs in South Africa. The total cost of RTC was estimated to amount to R 142.9 billion based on the available 2015 fatal RTC data, which represents about 3.4 per cent of the Gross National Product (GDP). The paper concludes with examples of applications of the CoC 2016 RTC costing in support of implementing the ‘Safe System’ approach.
Papers presented at the 36th Southern African Transport Conference, CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa on 10-13 July 2017.