53rd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regional Integration: Europe, the Mediterranean and the World Economy", 27-31 August 2013, Palermo, Italy
The road safety literature is typified by a high degree of compartmentalization between studies that focus on infrastructure and traffic conditions and those devoted to the evaluation of public policies and regulations. As a result, few studies adopt a unified empirical framework in their attempts at evaluating the road safety performance of public interventions, thus limiting our understanding of successful strategies in this regard. This paper considers both types of determinants in an analysis of a European country that has enjoyed considerable success in reducing road fatalities. After constructing a panel data set with road safety outcomes for all Spanish provinces between 1990 and 2009, we evaluate the role of the technical characteristics of infrastructure and recent infrastructure spending together with the main regulatory changes introduced. Our results show the importance of considering both types of determinants in a unified framework. Moreover, we highlight the importance of spending in maintenance given its effectiveness in reducing fatalities and casualties in the current economic context of austerity that is having such a marked impact on investment efforts in Spain.