In an effort to reduce the burgeoning burden of road traffic injuries and fatalities, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and researchers like the JH-IIRU team work to implement interventions that will reduce the number of road-related deaths and injuries. Such efforts, however, are often tied to budget constraints. Performing cost-benefit analyses can be a useful tool for priority-setting for road safety interventions.

Recently, JH-IIRU team member, research assistant, Andres Vecino-Ortiz, published “The Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis in Road Assessments: A Methodological Inquiry,” in Injury Prevention. The paper evaluates the rapid assessment metric to estimate the value of statistical life (VOSL) developed by the International Road Assessment Program (iRAP). VOSL is a metric used to estimate the benefits of road safety interventions in cost-benefit analysis.

The iRAP tool can be used to estimate the return of road safety interventions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), as it aims to calculate the costs of death and serious injuries that would be prevented by road infrastructure improvements. The paper found that the metric has some challenges that should be taken into consideration in VOSL estimations; the paper recommended that the tool disclose assumptions, use sensitivity analysis and avoid omitted variables bias.

To read more, access the paper here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23710063