Speed Reduction Measures

Engineering

Whilst road safety education, training and publicity seeks to change behaviours and attitudes as well as assisting road users to cope with their environment, road engineering aims to create a safe and forgiving road network that treats drivers, vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users equally in terms of their safety.

Collisions occur due to a variety of factors but most are mainly due to driver error so the interaction between the human factor and the road features are crucial in any casualty reduction strategy as is the interaction between the engineer and the educator.

Section 39 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 requires that all local authorities carry out studies into the cause of accidents on roads in their area and to take appropriate measures to prevent accidents.

Road safety engineering

Local authorities receive details of all of the recorded injury accidents that occur on roads in their area from the police. This information is analysed to identify locations, routes and areas where accidents could be reduced using engineering solutions. This approach is known as accident investigation and prevention (AIP) and different approaches require to be tailored for the type of accident problem that has been identified.

For example, accidents occurring on rural roads are often treated with the implementation of Route Action Plans. Improved road signage and markings are installed along with new road studs, verge maker posts and anti-skid surfacing. Solutions to accidents in urban areas could lead to the introduction of pedestrian crossings or traffic signals. Speeding issues, particularly in residential streets, or near to schools, can be treated with the installation of vehicle activated signs, warning drivers that they are travelling too quickly and where appropriate the speed limit can be reduced to 20mph.

Requests are also regularly received from elected members or the community for road safety improvements and these are assessed through a study of the accident record at the time of the enquiry.

Locations need to have injury accident levels above thresholds set by individual councils, to be regarded for priority treatment. Should the location not be afforded high priority obvious low cost improvements or issues identified are often considered. This approach ensures that we prioritise works where they are needed the most.

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