Public policies regarding health and safety can have powerful impacts on people’s daily lives. PIRE researchers and policy analysts identify, develop, and evaluate effective public health and safety policies on national, state, and local levels. PIRE’s research and analysis have encompassed a variety of policy areas, including traffic safety, drugs and alcohol, violence, firearms, educational programming, and health care financing.
One key contribution to the policy field has been the development of computer simulation models. These models are based on available research and empirical data. They enable decision-makers to explore alternative policy scenarios and predict the benefits of different policies or combinations of policies. Examples of computer models for simulation purposes that have been developed by PIRE include SimCom, a simulation model used to examine alternative strategies for reducing alcohol problems in a community or state, and SimSmoke, which tests alternative policy strategies to reduce smoking levels and initiation rates among the national population. Other policy analysis and development include the areas of underage drinking and impaired driving prevention, along with legal analysis of the effectiveness of statutory and judicial decisions on alcohol policy.