SURE (Users? Safety on Existing Roads): a New Method Implemented in France to Improve Safety on Existing Roads

SURE (Users? Safety on Existing Roads): a New Method Implemented in France to Improve Safety on Existing Roads


P Chambon, F Ganneau, SETRA, FR


The implementation of a new method has been decided by the french road administration to improve safety on existing roads : SURE. Its originality and advantages are described in the paper, as well as its different steps.


The implementation of a new method has been decided by the french road administration in the end of 2004 to improve the safety on existing roads. The method has been elaborated since 2002 and is now completed, after a test in 2004. It applies to all national roads in France and can de adapted to other roads.

The originality and the advantages of the approach concerns several purposes :
·It aims at understanding the real dysfunctions specific to each type of road (through the detailed analysis of the development of the accidents that have actually happened) and at providing a realistic solution;
·Its efficiency is based on the establishment of priorities between actions to be carried out on the network, according to the expected reduction in accidents;
·It proposes a global approach that includes identification of the stakes, diagnosis, proposition and implementation of corrective actions, assessment of these actions.
·It integrates a preventive element (as it includes a systematic inspection of the road), adaptable to the context of each country and focused on the infrastructure features that have an impact on safety and on which an adjustment action is possible and recognised as efficient;
·It applies as well to the management of 'black spots' as to diffuse accidentology;
·It associates road administrations and local communities, and establishes a dialogue on road safety issues.

It is essential to distinguish two methods to improve safety of networks, according to whether it is a question of intervening:
·on their design;
·or on their improvement when they already exist.

For the roads in the process of being designed, countries globally agree on the principle of safety inspection of road projects ('road safety audits). The method is based on the comparison between the characteristics of the design of a road with standards. But such methods can present strong disadvantages if they are to be directly transposed on the existing network. Indeed :
·they can imply considerable adjustment work and thus considerable financing without offering a satisfactory prioritisation method.
·they do not guarantee the best cost-effectiveness ratio.
·They often propose actions only on the design of the road or on its equipment, though road operation can also be concerned.

Besides, it is extremely delicate to determine infrastructure analysis criteria according to which:
·a real link between infrastructure features and accidents is recognised
·deviations are 'measurable' and the inspection can be carried out on a large scale
·deviations can be corrected without totally overhauling the infrastructure.

Consequently, in order to reduce accident statistics on the existing national road network, contrary to the 'road safety audit' methods, it is better to start with the determination of sections on which a maximal reduction in accidents can be expected through an intervention on the infrastructure for a limited cost.

That is why a new approach has been developed by the French ministry, called S.U.R.E. (Sécurité des Usagers sur le Réseau Existant, i.e. users? safety on existing roads).

SURE Methodology :

The method can be analysed with the 4 following steps :

1 ? Analysis of the stakes
Road sections to address in priority are identified, relying on the analysis of the accident report of the last five years on the whole road network, and in terms of efficiency as regards accident reduction. A special indicator has been elaborated to identify this sections, which is based on the work done in cooperation between german and french road administrations.
The next steps are implemented only on the road sections here identified.

2 ? Understanding of the dysfunctions observed (diagnosis)
First, identification of the uses and functions of the road section : with the support of local authorities, all the necessary information (transit traffic or access road, kinds of users, local specificities linked to tourism, agricultural activity etc.) is compiled in order to understand how the section functions in the present context as well as its possible evolutions following various urbanistic or road projects etc.

Then, determination of accident factors linked to the infrastructure : Accident police reports are analysed to determine accident-inducing factors linked to the infrastructure. Observations, measures and supplementary investigations are carried out on site to validate or not these accident factors.

Last, identification of layouts recognised as accident-inducing : This consists in a systematic inspection of the section, focusing on those themes that represent stakes at the national level and on which a link between the infrastructure features and safety has been demonstrated :
·shoulders (including fixed roadside obstacles),
·vulnerable users.

3- Definition of adjustment actions
Actions ensue from safety objectives that are identified taking into account those three elements together:
·uses and functions,
·validated accident factors,
·accident-inducing layouts.

Most of the time, these actions require more advanced definition studies to be developed through that stage.
At that stage, indicators to assess these actions are also defined.

4 ? Assessment of actions
The assessment consists in the analysis of the before and after measures of indicators predefined (ex: speed; roadholding etc.), in the before and after accident report and possibly in a new diagnosis in the case of an unfavourable report.

SURE applies essentially on interurban roads.

In 2004, the method has been implemented on 15 sections on a rather simplified way; its feasibility has thus been demonstrated. Less than one year has been necessary to realize the whole method, up to the definition of corrective actions. The more efficient actions has than been programmed for 2005, with a special budget of six million euros in addition to the existing budget.

The extension to all national roads has been decided by the French ministry and SURE is now implemented by each local division of the national road administration. Discussions are engaged in order to extend the method to other types of roads.


Association for European Transport