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Ezra Hauer1, James A. Bonneson2, Forrest Council3, Raghavan Srinivasan3, Geni Bahar4

1University of Toronto, 35 Merton Street, Apartment 1706, Toronto, Ontario M4S 3G4, Canada
2Kittelson and Associates, Inc., 610 Southwest Alder Street, Portland, OR 97205
3Highway Safety Research Center, University of North Carolina, 730 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
4NAVIGATS Inc., 486 Cranbrooke Avenue, North York, Ontario M5M 1N7, Canada


Money should be spent on research that promises the most value for the dollar, but how does one estimate the value of research? This paper suggests a logical and quantitative approach for estimating the dollar value of a class of proposed road safety research projects that aim to estimate the safety effects of various actions. The purpose of such research is to improve the ability to predict the safety effects of future actions because more accurate predictions would result in fewer incorrect decisions. With more correct decisions, investment is more cost-effective. This final outcome is what gives such research its value. The task of assigning a dollar value to proposed research is doable. The logic and the computations are described. The estimated dollar value, when coupled with the cost of research, can be used to prioritize proposed research projects.

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