The ESRA initiative

ESRA (E-Survey of Road users’ Attitudes) is a joint initiative of road safety institutes, research centres, public services, and private sponsors from all over the world. The aim is to collect and analyse comparable data on road safety performance, in particular road safety culture and behaviour of road users. The ESRA data are used as a basis for a large set of road safety indicators. These provide scientific evidence for policy making at national and international levels.

At the heart of ESRA is a jointly developed questionnaire survey, which is translated into national language versions. The themes covered include self-declared behaviour, attitudes and opinions on unsafe behaviour in traffic, enforcement experiences and support for policy measures. The survey addresses different road safety topics (e.g., driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, speeding, distraction, seatbelt and helmet use) and targets car occupants, motorcycle and moped drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. 

Already two editions of ESRA have taken place. ESRA1 was conducted in 2015-2017 and ESRA2 in 2018-2020. In total, 60 countries have already participated in ESRA1 and/or ESRA2. The ESRA initiative is managed by the ESRA Steering Group, a consortium currently consisting of ten organisations across the world. The initiative is led by Vias institute (Brussels, Belgium).

Aim & objectives

  • Provide scientific support for road safety policy making at national and international levels
  • Make internationally comparable data available on the current road safety situation in countries all over the world
  • Develop a series of reliable, cost-effective and comparable road safety performance indicators
  • Develop time series on road safety performance

The intention is to repeat this survey every three years and extend it to an increasing number of countries.

ESRA 1

Initiated in 2015 by the Vias institute, the ESRA initiative firstly gathered 17 countries mainly across Europe:

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom

Data collection took place simultaneously in all countries in June/July 2015. In total, data from more than 17,000 road users (of which 11,000 frequent car drivers) were collected.

A second wave took place in 2016 and a third one in 2017, involving new countries and new partners to the initiative. In total, 38 countries across 5 continents participated to the so-called ESRA1 (2015-2017) and data were collected from almost 40,000 road users.

Vias institute in Brussels (Belgium) coordinated the ESRA1 survey in close collaboration with the six partners of the steering committee: bfu - Beratungsstelle für Unfallverhütung (Switzerland), CTL - Centro di Ricerca per il Trasporto e la Logistica, ‘Sapienza’ Università di Roma (Italy), ITS - Instytutu Transportu Samochodowego (Poland), KFV - Kuratorium für Verkehrssicherheit (Austria), NTUA - National Technical University of Athens (Greece), PRP - Prevenção Rodoviária Portuguesa (Portugal). 

ESRA 2

In 2018, ESRA2 initiative is launched gathering already 32 countries, with the engagement of 5 African countries, 5 Oceanian and Asian countries, 2 countries from America and 20 European countries.

And in 2019, a second wave was launched, and 16 new countries joined the initiative allowing this second edition to reach up to 48 countries across 6 continents (new were: 7 African countries, 4 Asian countries, 3 European countries and 1 Latin American country).

Vias institute in Brussels (Belgium) coordinated the ESRA2 survey in close collaboration with the eleven partners of the steering committee: BASt (Germany), BFU (Switzerland), CTL (Italy), IATSS (Japan), Gustave Eiffel Université (France), ITS (Poland), KFV (Austria), NTUA (Greece), PRP (Portugal), SWOV (the Netherlands), TIRF (Canada).

In each country that participates in ESRA, there is a national partner to support the initiative. They are responsible for the funding of the survey, the translation of the survey questionnaire into the national language(s) and interpretation of the findings. For the twelve African countries, funding was provided by the Group Renault and The World Bank Group.

ESRA2 ended in 2021 and the following key outputs have been produced: 

  • A detailed methodological report (which also includes a copy of the full survey) 
  • 15 thematic reports on a range of road safety topics 
  • 48 country factsheets 
  • 6 webinars 
  • A regional report on Africa 
  • An overall final report on ESRA2 (ready by spring 2022) 
  • A dashboard (visit it here)

2022 announces the launch of ESRA3 !

This third initiative will feature:

  • The overall methodological approach that was developed and implemented in ESRA1 and ESRA2 is maintained. The objective is to maintain consistency, efficiency and reliability. However, small deviations from the overall methodology (sample size, survey method) can be considered in special cases.
  • In each participating country, the ESRA survey is conducted among a representative sample of the national adult population. The questionnaire is translated into the national language of the country (in countries with several languages, the main ones are used).
  • The data collection is undertaken by highly rated survey and polling agencies via online panels; these agencies have been selected based on an international public tender. All data collected is centrally stored and processed.
  • The questionnaire in ESRA3 has the same length as those of ESRA1 and ESRA2. Many questions remain the same as in ESRA2 in order to allow for detecting trends over time. Some questions are adapted or removed and replaced by other questions.
  • For each world region which includes several ESRA partner countries (e.g., Europe, Africa, Arab world, Latin America, Asia, etc.) some specific questions on road safety will be added that are highly relevant for that region; these questions will be determined in cooperation with the countries concerned and the Regional Road Safety Observatories in these regions.
  • The ESRA3 data collection will be organised between February and March 2023 and a similar range of outputs and reports will be produced in 2023 and 2024.
  • Like in ESRA1 and ESRA2, the funding of ESRA3 comes from the resources of national partners themselves or from sponsors who pay for the survey costs for one or more countries.

You want to know more, please get in touch with us!

ESRA1 and ESRA2 Learnings

  • The ESRA initiative has yielded a very rich dataset that is useful for understanding road safety risks and the effectiveness of policy measures. ESRA data helps to assess the national road safety situation and enables benchmarking in comparison to other countries or regions. In this way, ESRA data is a solid foundation for national and international monitoring systems on road safety attitudes and behaviour. 
  • An evaluation among ESRA partners in 2021 showed great enthusiasm and satisfaction with ESRA and in particular how ESRA2 was managed and conducted. All ESRA2 partners indicated that the ESRA data were useful for their organization and almost all partners have used ESRA2 data for dissemination activities. Most ESRA partners are very satisfied with their role in the ESRA2 fieldwork and with their return on investment for the resources their organization has spent on ESRA2.  

ESRA Methodology, in a nutshell, it is:

  • An ONLINE survey using representative sample (N≥1,000 per country):
    • 40,000 road users participated to the ESRA1 survey
    • 45,114 road users took part to the ESRA2 survey
  • A common questionnaire developed and translated into:
    • 33 different country-languages for ESRA1 edition
    • 61 different country-languages version for ESRA2 edition
  • Hard quota are used for gender and age distribution during the sampling procedure.
  • 4 types of road users are reached to respond to the questions:
    • Car drivers
    • Moped riders and motorcyclists
    • Cyclists
    • Pedestrians
  • 5 road safety topics are addressed:
    • Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs and medicines
    • Speeding
    • Protective systems (e.g., seat belt use, helmet use)
    • Distraction
    • Fatigue
  • 9 main themes are covered:
    • Use of different transport modes - Acceptability of safe and unsafe traffic behaviour - Support for policy measures - Self-declared safe and unsafe behaviour in traffic - Attitudes towards safe and unsafe traffic behaviour - Subjective safety and risk perception - Involvement in road crashes - Attitudes towards enforcement measures - Vehicle automation
  • For more information on methodology, look at ESRA2 methodology report

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