Various road safety performance indicators (SPIs) have been proposed for different road safety research areas, mainly as regards driver behaviour (e.g. seat belt use, alcohol, drugs, etc.) and vehicles (e.g. passive safety); however, no SPIs for the road network and design have been developed. The objective of this research is the development of an SPI for the road network, to be used as a benchmark for cross-region comparisons. The developed SPI essentially makes a comparison of the existing road network to the theoretically required one, defined as one which meets some minimum requirements with respect to road safety. This paper presents a theoretical concept for the determination of this SPI as well as a translation of this theory into a practical method. Also, the method is applied in a number of pilot countries namely the Netherlands, Portugal, Greece and Israel. The results show that the SPI could be efficiently calculated in all countries, despite some differences in the data sources. In general, the calculated overall SPI scores were realistic and ranged from 81 to 94%, with the exception of Greece where the SPI was relatively lower (67%). However, the SPI should be considered as a first attempt to determine the safety level of the road network. The proposed method has some limitations and could be further improved. The paper presents directions for further research to further develop the SPI.