Nearly £50 million boost for safety on local A roads of England

The UK Government has announced a £47.5 million investment on 27 roads to prevent deaths and serious injuries on England’s local road network. This new investment, as part of the Department for Transport’s Safer Roads Fund, will see life-saving road safety engineering measures introduced on local authority A roads. Following on from the success of previous phases of the Safer Roads Fund, this investment will secure safer roads for walking, cycling, riding and driving across England.

Early estimates suggest that the £47.5 million investment should prevent around 760 fatal and serious injuries over the next 20 years, with a benefit to society of £420 million. Once the whole life costs are factored in for the schemes, the overall Benefit Cost Ratio of the investment is estimated as 7.4, meaning for every £1 invested the societal benefit would be £7.40.

The previous Safer Roads Fund investment in 2018 of £100m focused primarily on rural roads and won a prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award as an “outstanding achievement” and a “fine example of collaboration”.  This new funding is split more evenly across rural and urban roads where funding can support greater levels of safer active travel.

The Road Safety Foundation (RSF) welcomed the news saying that it provides an opportunity to accelerate efforts to prevent death and serious injury on our roads.

Dr Suzy Charman, Executive Director of RSF said: “The commitment and funding announced today is transformational for road safety teams in local authorities across the country.  It will allow them to proactively reduce risk and make these 27 roads safer and more inviting for all road users.

“Systematic changes have already had a big impact on road death and serious injury, for example seatbelts and airbags protect lives when crashes happen.  In the same way we can design roads so that when crashes happen people can walk away, by clearing or protecting roadsides, putting in cross hatching to add space between vehicles, providing safer junctions like roundabouts or adding signalisation and/or turning pockets, and including facilities for walking and cycling.”

Dr Suzy Charman added: “We congratulate the Secretary of State Mark Harper, the Roads Minister Richard Holden and the team at the Department for Transport for their commitment to bring life-saving measures to these roads.”

About Safer Roads Fund investment in 2018
The Safer Roads Fund was established following a successful pathfinder programme delivered by Road Safety Foundation and commissioned and financially supported by the RAC Foundation and the Department for Transport. In 2018, the Safer Roads Fund programme focused on treating the 50 highest risk local A road sections in England with remedial road safety engineering interventions. Together the 2018 Safer Roads Fund schemes are set to prevent around 1,450 fatal and serious injuries over the next 20 years. The value of prevention for the schemes is £550 million compared with the whole life cost of treatments of £125 million. The Benefit to Cost ratio for this portfolio of roads is estimated to be 4.4, meaning that for every £1 invested, £4.40 is returned in terms of societal benefit. This demonstrates how road safety interventions can compete favourably with other major transport projects.

Two reports on the results of the 2018 Safer Roads Fund investment are available here: A list of roads is available on request

About the Road Safety Foundation
The Road Safety Foundation is a UK charity, founded in 1986, that aims to help reduce road trauma through the delivery of a Safe System by:

  • Identifying investment packages likely to give high returns and analysing the safety performance of roads over time.
  • Providing the approach, tools and training necessary to support road authorities in taking a proactive approach to road risk reduction.
  • Undertaking research to progress knowledge and policy.

Over the last 20 years, the charity has maintained a particular focus on safer road infrastructure through the establishment of the European Road Assessment Programme and the development of the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) and its protocols for measuring infrastructure safety. The RSF leads the United Kingdom Road Assessment Programme. Its work serves as a model of what can be achieved, with key research and innovation being replicated in RAP programmes across the world.

Recently, the charity has:

  • Supported DfT’s 2018 Safer Roads Fund investment carrying out surveys of the 50 highest risk local ‘A’ roads in England, training local authorities, and modelling the impact of schemes that together made the £100 million investment portfolio
  • Provided support and technical insight to National Highways and Welsh Government for their strategic road iRAP initiatives
  • Undertaken research and development work to enhance the iRAP approach for application in urban areas
  • Developed a route review tool which will be used by road authorities to help with decision making and business case development

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Image credit: UK Department for Transport