Road Infrastructure Safety Management As Part of the Decade of Action for Road Safety- Preconditions, Instruments and Examples from Europe
J Gerlach, University of Wuppertal, DE
The European Parliament published the Directive 2008/96/EC, which introduces a comprehensive system of road infrastructure safety management. The presentation describes the background of these instruments and gives examples and experiences
Road infrastructure is an important contributing factor in many severe accidents and managing its safety offers a wide scope for improvement. In that respect, the European Parliament published the Directive 2008/96/EC, which introduces a comprehensive system of road infrastructure safety management. The instruments of that management system are a part of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. In Europe all member states had to implement the system approach in their law and operate more or less with the specifications of the Directive. In other countries like the United States similar instruments still exist.
All over the world this new development is recognized and the whole system or parts of it influence the decisions for improving the road infrastructure with the aim of increasing road safety for all road users. However, the Directive is related to the trans-European road network only, Member States may and do also apply the provisions to the whole national, regional and local road infrastructure. Keeping in mind that severe accidents happen on interurban and rural roads and the most risks can be seen in urban roads, the development should be used by planning and maintaining the whole network.
The infrastructure safety management focuses on the following four procedures:
- Road safety impact assessment
- Road safety audit
- Network safety management (Ranking of high accident concentration sections and network safety ranking)
- Safety inspections
The Road safety impact assessment is a strategic comparative analysis of the impact of a new road or a substantial modification to the existing network on the safety performance of the road network, at the initial planning stage before the infrastructure project is approved. The instrument and the methods of a pro-active safety impact assessment are not established so far. The purpose is to demonstrate, on a strategic level, the implications on road safety of different planning alternatives of an infrastructure. The development of a methodology which allows a reliable forecast of accident rates for different solutions is not easy but more and more important especially in low and middle income countries, where the policies for land use .and urban development are often leading to extremely unsafe road conditions with many victims especially of vulnerable road users. Their needs are regularly neglected by the transport and city planners.
The Road safety audit (RSA) is an independent detailed systematic and technical safety check relating to the design characteristics of a road infrastructure project and covering all stages from planning to early operation as to identify, in a detailed way, unsafe features of a road infrastructure project. The RSA is still used in some countries for several years and the presentation will focus on the experiences and the main deficiencies stated in a RSA.
The Ranking of high accident concentration sections is a method to identify, analyse and rank sections of the existing road network upon which a large number of accidents in proportion to the traffic flow have occurred. In addition the network safety ranking is a method for identifying, analysing and classifying parts of the existing road network according to their potential for safety development and accident cost savings. The purpose is to target investments to the road sections with the highest accident concentration and/or the highest accident reduction potential.
Road safety inspections (RSI) are an ordinary periodical verification of the characteristics and defects that require maintenance work for reasons of safety as a preventive tool. RSI?s aim is to identify potential problems so countermeasures can be applied to remove or minimise the chance of an accident occurring.
A consequent safety management can help to improve road safety and to avoid accidents and their consequences. The presentation describes the background of these instruments and gives examples and experiences like typical hazards and deficiencies from the implementation and application in Europe and in developing countries or countries in transition, especially in Germany and Egypt. The focus groups are researchers, politicians and practitioners working on all road traffic planning levels and stages.
Association for European Transport