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January 13, 2023

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Road safety

Road Safety Foundation: ‘Now is the time to invest in safer mobility for all road users’

The Road Safety Foundation say it is time to re-focus to offer ‘safe, sustainable and inclusive’ mobility for all road users, following their recent report where economic policies for appraising investment in travel are ‘outdated’, ‘prioritising’ quick and convenient car travel and ‘do not reflect’ modern safe and sustainable values. SHP hears more from the Foundation below…

Investing in Safer Mobility

Targeting investment across the British Road Network says that compared with pre-Covid data, fatal and serious casualties are down but that a return to pre-pandemic deaths and serious injuries is to be expected. However, recent rises in the cost of living may impact future traffic levels, travel speeds and subsequent casualties, and we may see a further effect caused by increased levels of home working, now embedded for many, post-Covid.

New technology driving change in road safety“Now is the time to invest in our road infrastructure to support safer and more sustainable mobility for all road users,” says Dr Suzy Charman, Executive Director of the Road Safety Foundation, and one of the report’s authors. “This will reduce the burden on our health care services and, at the same time, support environmental, health and cost-of-living imperatives.”

Road infrastructure measures that reduce the risk of fatal and serious injury are well understood and the investment returns are compelling. Measures such as protecting or clearing roadsides, separating vehicles travelling in opposing directions and designing junctions to be safer offer high opportunities to save lives. Supporting safer walking and cycling through provision of separate facilities or reducing vehicle speeds is key to encouraging modal shift and reducing deaths and injuries for these important user groups.

The charity’s annual crash risk mapping report says that the case for investment in systematic and planned crash reduction is as strong as ever.

The report highlights ten per cent of motorways and “A” roads that are clear priorities for investment. The case for investment is strong, with favourable investment options across Great Britain that would not just save lives but would also address some of the immense societal loss attributable to road crashes each year (around £30 billion in 2021).

Britain’s most improved routes

There are 52 routes that improved significantly from the first data period (2015 to 2017) to the next (2018 to 2020), a total road length of over 1,200 kilometres. Between the two three-year periods, the number of fatal and adjusted serious crashes on these routes fell by 61% from 1,058 to 404. The annual societal value of the crashes prevented was more than £110 million, or more than £90,000 per kilometre road length, with societal value of over £1.6 billion over 20 years. Some examples of significantly improved routes are:

While a small number of improvements involved road widening or the construction of a town bypass, most are modest: street lighting better junction layout for pedestrians, refreshed road markings, better camera enforcement, and focused, localised reductions in speed limits.

The Road Safety Foundation also provides an interactive tool where users can look up the safety rating of A roads and motorways in their area.

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