New independent safety regulator for England’s roads to use EuroRAP benchmarks

EuroRAP Risk Maps and Star Ratings are to be used to help benchmark the safety performance of Highways England against other national and international road authorities.

New UK government legislation has extended the role of the independent rail regulator to include England’s national roads. The newly named Office of Rail and Road (ORR) now checks the safety of both railways and roads.

The ORR is taking a collaborative approach to monitoring and benchmarking safety. It has announced that EuroRAP’s work, in partnership with Highways England and the Road Safety Foundation, will be ‘a key source of data and information for our safety benchmarking.’

In a first stage, ORR work will focus on ‘internal safety benchmarking on the strategic road network and comparisons of safety risks and safety Star Ratings’. ORR will work with Highways England to:

• Benchmark their short term target – ‘90% of travel on 3-star roads or better by 2020’ – against recent performance and targets in other countries

• Build on previous work comparing safety across the network to identify the potential reduction in death and serious trauma if the riskiest roads are improved

• Investigate the links between EuroRAP Star Ratings and Risk Ratings at a route level.

EuroRAP’s Chairman, John Dawson, commented: “This new formal, disciplined approach to making road users safer is very welcome. RAP protocols – Risk Mapping, Star Rating and Performance Tracking – are already widely applied in Europe. Worldwide more than 500,000 km of major roads have been Star Rated. We are pleased to help support UK partners in their benchmarking.

‘The challenge for high performing nations such as the UK, Netherlands and Sweden is to make travel by road as safe as travel by rail or air. Highways England want to achieve this on their network by 2040. Lower income countries too can leapfrog middling performers by applying the new risk based technologies. Tools like iRAP’s ViDA are funded by charitable foundations so countries rich and poor alike can shape high return Safer Road Investment Plans.’