A report issued this week by the UK’s Office of Rail and Road to independently review safety data from National Highways (formerly Highways England) regarding smart motorways, has concluded that the all-lane running highways are indeed the safest in the UK, confirming that the government owned company’s own findings are robust.
The report, Quality Assurance of All Lane Running motorway data, was a thorough undertaking; with the ORR drawing on its expertise as the monitor of England’s strategic road network.
The ORR analysed detailed information, interviewed relevant staff at both National Highways and the Department for Transport, and reviewed the evidence submitted to the Transport Select Committee inquiry, which commenced in February 2021.
To provide additional expertise and challenge, ORR took independent analytical advice from a specialist consultancy and involved the non-executive chair of its National Highways Committee. This was done to ensure the conclusions and recommendations arrived are as robust and comprehensive as possible. The report supports National Highway’s findings that smart motorways are the safest roads in the country in terms of fatalities.
The ORR’s report contains several recommendations for improvement that will strengthen understanding of road safety. National Highways has agreed to all its recommendations and developed an action plan in response which is already underway building upon its progress report issued in April 2021.
The National Highways Progress Report drew its evidence from data and analysis of the 2019 STATS19 official statistics and produced by National Highways. I know that there has been considerable public and media interest in understanding motorway accident and fatality data and in March 2021 I commissioned the Office of Rail and Road to independently review the data to provide further analytical assurance and ensure that the conclusions arrived at are robust.
The ORR’s report contains several recommendations for improvement that will strengthen our understanding of road safety. National Highways has agreed to all its recommendations and developed an action plan in response which is already underway.
Speaking about the publishing of the report, Grant Shapps, Minister for Transport addressed parliament saying: “My commission for assurance into smart motorway safety data by the ORR is another step towards improving road safety and instilling public confidence in the safety of our roads, which make a crucial contribution to economic and social development in this country.”
Don’t miss a full case study of the UK’s smart motorway scheme in the forthcoming September 2021 edition of TTi magazine.