The role of university research centres in building road safety capacity : implications for China

Watson, Barry, Fleiter, Judy, & King, Mark (2014) The role of university research centres in building road safety capacity : implications for China. In Australia-China Centre for Public Health Research Forum, 1-3 August 2014, QUT Gardens Point, Brisbane, Australia. (Unpublished)



In recent decades, highly motorised countries, such as Australia, have witnessed significant improvements in population health through reductions in fatalities and injuries from road traffic crashes. In Australia, concerted efforts have been made to reduce the road trauma burden since road fatalities reached their highest level in in the early 1970s. Since that time, many improvements have been made drawing on various disciplines to reduce the trauma burden (e.g., road and vehicle design, road user education, traffic law enforcement practices and enforcement technologies). While road fatalities have declined significantly since the mid-1970s, road trauma remains a serious public health concern in Australia.

China has recently become the largest car market in the world (Ma, Li, Zhou, Duan, & Bishai, 2012). This rapid motorisation has been accompanied by substantial expansion of the road network as well as a large road trauma burden. Road traffic injuries are a major cause of death in China, reported as accounting for one third of all injury-deaths between 2002 and 2006 (Ma et al., 2012). In common with Australia, China has experienced a reported decline in fatalities since 2002 (see Hu, Wen & Baker, 2008). However, there remains a strong need for action in this area as rates of motorisation continue to climb in China.

In Australia, a wide range of organisations have contributed to the improvements in road safety including government agencies, professional organisations, advocacy groups and research centres. In particular, Australia has several highly regarded and multi-disciplinary, university-based research centres that work across a range of road safety fields, including engineering, intelligent transportation systems, the psychology of road user behaviour, and traffic law enforcement. Besides conducting high-quality research, these centres fulfil an important advocacy role in promoting safer road use and facilitating collaborations with government and other agencies, at both the national and international level. To illustrate the role of these centres, an overview will be provided of the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety-Queensland (CARRS-Q), which was established in 1996 and has gone on to become a recognised world-leader in road safety and injury prevention research. The Centre’s research findings are used to provide evidence-based recommendations to government and have directly contributed to promoting safer road use in Australia. Since 2006, CARRS-Q has also developed strong collaborative links with various universities and organisations in China to assist in building understanding, connections and capacity to assist in reducing the road trauma burden.


Hu, G., Wen, M., Baker, T. D., & Baker, S. P. (2008). Road-traffic deaths in China, 1985–2005: threat and opportunity. Injury Prevention, 14, 149-153.

Ma, S., Li, Q., Zhou, M., Duan, L., & Bishai, D. (2012). Road Traffic Injury in China: A Review of National Data Sources. Traffic Injury Prevention, 13(S1), 57-63.

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ID Code: 79666
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Keywords: Road safety, Capacity building, University, Research centres
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > OTHER EDUCATION (139900) > Education not elsewhere classified (139999)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 05 Jan 2015 01:40
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2015 01:40

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