The UK’s Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has awarded road casualty reduction charity the Road Safety Foundation (RSF) a contract to review how investments are prioritized to improve safety outcomes by Highways England (HE).
The Foundation plays a pivotal role in raising awareness and understanding of the importance of road infrastructure at all levels. For the last 18 years, the charity has focused on leading the establishment of the European Road Assessment Program (EuroRAP) and more recently the work first developed by RSF has fed into the International Road Assessment Program (iRAP). Since the inception of EuroRAP in 1999, the Foundation has been the UK Member responsible for managing the program in the UK and, more recently, Ireland, ensuring the country provides a global model of what can be achieved.
Under the new ORR contract, the Foundation will look at:
- How HE ranks the location and type of scheme to deliver;
- How these decisions are influenced by HE’s key performance indicators (KPIs);
- How the company takes account of the safety star rating of the network when making investment decisions;
- How HE considers safety outcomes in its economic appraisal of future schemes;
- How HE evaluates the success of safety schemes, and how this subsequently informs future investment priorities;
- How cycling, safety and integration ring-fenced fund and safety improvements are delivered as part of major schemes.
Crucially, the project will also assess how safety investment on smart motorways is appraised, prioritized and evaluated.
To deliver the four-month project, the RSF is working with global expert in road safety management, Jeanne Breen OBE, and Tony Ciaburro of Castello Consulting, a specialist in providing strategic policy advice and support on transport, infrastructure and environmental services to both the public and private sectors.
“This commission is an ideal opportunity to health-check the approach of Highways England to road safety in a timely way. This should help to shape and influence future programs of interventions in order to get better value for money, save more lives, and reduce injuries on our strategic road network,” explained Kate Fuller, acting executive director of the RSF. “We are proposing an in-depth analysis, which will include detailed person-to-person interviews and comparisons with best practice around the world. The outcome should be of value to everyone in the industry, including local highway authorities.”
Commenting on the contract, Iain Ritchie, ORR’s roads performance analyst, said, “We’re delighted to be working with the Road Safety Foundation on this project to review how Highways England prioritizes its investments to improve safety. By highlighting areas of best practice, and identifying opportunities for further improvement, the project will support Highways England in achieving its long-term goal that nobody is harmed when travelling or working on the strategic road network.”