Road infrastructure safety management in Europe: how good?

The European directive on road infrastructure safety management (2008/96/EC) has helped to create new thinking on road safety management across the continent but is constrained by its scope, which covers only the roads of the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T).

This was the conclusion of a consultants’ report prepared on behalf of the European Commission. It was discussed at a recent meeting in Brussels attended by EuroRAP and other observers.

Minimum standards, a common language and uniform assessments were all positive aspects of the directive, delegates heard. In the second half of 2016 stakeholders will be able to take part in a public consultation which may lead to a proposal for revision of the directive being made in 2017.

The report recommended incorporating the provisions of the existing directive with the tunnel safety directive (2004/54/EC). This would encourage an integrated approach that could help to connect member states and possibly develop momentum towards a pan-European approach.

In the ensuing discussions attendees raised a wide range of issues including measuring roads’ safety performance, certificating training centres for road safety auditors, and finding ways to ensure pan-European recognition of road safety auditors’ qualifications.

The discussion was a useful opportunity for EuroRAP to explain how its peer reviewed methodologies have been used by over 70 countries worldwide and with data from these assessments being freely available for use on its ViDA website. Many EU member states, most recently those involved in the EU’s SENSoR project, have benefitted.

The possible revision of the directives is an important topic for EuroRAP and its members and we need to watch developments very closely and be ready to act at the right time.