Socio-economic evaluation of a transport safety agency: validating accountability and benefits

Petri Mononen, Pekka Leviäkangas

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientific


    Evaluating effectiveness and impacts of public agencies on socio-economic benefit-cost level is a poorly charted out territory in science, yet often pursued in practice. Pressures to cut public expenditure and to maximise most value-adding use of scarce governmental resources are evident across the globe. Simultaneously decision support tools for pin-pointing whether the activity is yielding net benefits or costs are lacking. In other words, accountability is urgently called for but the 'accounting systems' that recognise and validate right choices in direction and control are yet to be established. This paper presents a process for validating vertical economic accountability via a real-world case study, namely that of Finnish Transport Safety Agency. The main contributions of the article are: presentation of a novel and repeatable approach to select a sample of functions or services for full-scale impact evaluation; description of applicable methods to chart out the impact mechanisms of various types of services; presenting examples of quantification of the socio-economic impacts and the associated production costs for the services; demonstrating cost/benefit appraisal of individual services, and finally; taking a first look into an agency's overall accountability. The final scope of evaluation cannot be limited to looking at the research subject internal productivity. It additionally must encompass the impacts from the perspectives of public economy, national economy and societal economy. The applicable quantification and cost/benefit calculation values may relate to induced benefits in traffic safety (e.g. reduced casualties, injuries, material damage); environmental benefits (e.g. reduced CO2, pollutants, noise), time savings (e.g. traveller choices, market control) and other benefits (e.g. data hand-out and value of information to data end-users' competitiveness or efficiency). Examples are shown both for the impact mechanism construction and for the quantification of impacts. The method can be repeated with modifications or as it stands. Potential application areas include corresponding agencies in Finland, Europe or globally. To facilitate further utilisation of the approach the discovered dos and don'ts are presented with the results.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the XXVth World Road Congress - Seoul
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Electronic)978-2-84060-423-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    MoE publication typeB3 Non-refereed article in conference proceedings
    EventXXVth World Road Congress: Roads and mobility - Creating new value from transport - Seoul, Korea, Democratic People's Republic of
    Duration: 2 Nov 20156 Nov 2015
    Conference number: 25


    ConferenceXXVth World Road Congress
    Country/TerritoryKorea, Democratic People's Republic of


    • socio-economy
    • evaluation
    • accountability
    • transport
    • safety
    • public
    • benefits


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