Road users across England will benefit from a £47.5 million injection into enhancing the safety of some of the most high-risk roads in England, the Department for Transport confirmed today (Thursday 6 April).
Through the third round of the Safer Roads Fund, 27 new schemes that have already been chosen will be delivered, benefiting road users around the country by driving forward safety improvements such as re-designing junctions and improving signage and road markings. The program will reduce the risk of collisions, in turn reducing congestion, journey times and emissions.
The allocation of the £47.5m to the 27 different schemes has been based on data independently surveyed and provided by the Road Safety Foundation. The data analysed is based on a road safety risk, looking at data on those killed and seriously injured alongside traffic levels.
According to Road Safety Foundation analysis, early estimates suggest that the 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 at 7.4, meaning for every £1 invested the societal benefit would be £7.40.
“Britain’s roads are some of the safest in the world, but we are always looking at ways to help keep drivers and all road users safe,” says Transport Secretary Mark Harper. “We’re injecting £47.5 million so that local councils around the country have the support they need to keep everyone safe, while reducing congestion and emissions and supporting local economies.”
The previous rounds of the Award winning Safer Roads Fund programme focused on treating the 50 highest-risk local A road sections in England with enhanced road safety engineering interventions, and the scheme is set to prevent around 1,450 fatal and serious injuries over the next 20 years.
To date, £100m has been provided through the program to improve the 50 most dangerous roads in England, the majority of which are rural roads. Some of the improvements already made include improved signage, safer pedestrian crossings and better designed junctions.
“Systematic changes have already had a big impact on road death and serious injury, for example seatbelts and airbags protect lives when crashes happen,” says Dr Suzy Charman, executive director of the Road Safety Foundation. “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.”
This additional investment builds on the Government’s plans to recruit a specialised team of inspectors to build the country’ first ever Road Safety investigation Branch. The team will look at how and why incidents happen and build an enhanced understanding of how we can better mitigate collisions.
It also follows the actions government has already taken to improve road safety, including banning any use of handheld mobile phones behind the wheel, updating the Highway Code to introduce a hierarchy of road users, placing those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy.