House of Commons Library

Parliamentary debate 16/10/18: Road safety

Published Tuesday, October 16, 2018

This debate will take place between 2.30 and 4.00 pm on 16 October in Westminster Hall. The Member who secured the debate is Jack Brereton MP (Con., Stoke-on-Trent South).

MPs can find Parliamentary questions, statements and debates on road safety via this link.

Safer Roads Fund

The Department for Transport (DfT) introduced the Safer Roads Fund (SRF) in January 2017 to support road safety in England by providing £25 million to help tackle some of the most dangerous A roads. The SRF totals £175 million between 2017/18 and 2020/21.

The DfT invited proposals from eligible local highway authorities to improve the safety of 50 specific sections of local A’ roads, where the risk of fatal and serious collisions was highest, based on the analysis by the Road Safety Foundation.

Eligible roads are listed by region, here:

The first successful bids for funding were announced in June 2018 alongside an update on progress against the Government’s December 2015 Road Safety Statement. The Transport Minister, Jesse Norman, said:

I am pleased today to announce the successful bids for the Safer Roads Fund, which we made available to enable Local Authorities to improve the 50 most dangerous stretches of ‘A’ roads in England. We are investing £100m to tackle these dangerous roads. This sum fully funds all bids from the Local Authorities concerned. The additional £75m initially allocated for the work has not been required, but we will continue to look closely at further scope for capital improvements to improve road safety.

There were 56 successful bids, all listed in HC Library Deposited paper DEP 2018-0581.

On 16 October 2018 the RAC Foundation and the Road Safety Foundation published an analysis of the likely benefits from the SRF funding. They estimated that the funding would “prevent almost 1,450 deaths and serious injuries over the next two decades on the riskiest council-managed A roads in England”. It estimated that the total value of the prevention of harm across 48 schemes, over a 20-year period, would be £550 million and would provide the following:

  • 436miles of road being targeted overall
  • 300 improved bends
  • 290 miles of improved roadside shoulders
  • 225 improved junctions
  • 150 miles of improved speed limits, enforcement and traffic calming
  • 135 new or improved pedestrian crossings
  • 90 miles of cleared or protected roadsides – e.g. crash barriers
  • 90 miles of improved visibility and signing
  • 80 milesof improved medians (hatching/wide centrelines)
  • 70 miles of improved road surfaces
  • 20 miles of new or improved cycle facilities
  • 10 miles of new or improved footpaths

The ten stretches of road that are expected to see the greatest casualty reductions are shown here. Four of the top ten, including the top two, are in Lancashire.

In February 2018 the DfT published an independent report by Kantar Republic, evaluating the process of applying for SRF. Two of its key findings were as follows:

The targeted bidding approach was broadly accepted, and LAs recognised its advantages compared to a competitive approach. Some LAs maintained that the funding was not guaranteed.

Scepticism about the data used to conduct the analysis to select roads undermined some LAs buy-in to the targeted road approach. The use of retrospective crash data to identify stretches of roads was seen as problematic; old data does not capture roadworks that may have been done since, and LAs hold more recent local intelligence that could complement and reinforce data used.

Key conclusions included:

Many aspects of SRF’s administration worked well to engage LAs in building a business case. The non-competitive application approach and range of support available to LAs raised awareness amongst LAs of new ways of thinking about road safety, and helped to align LA business cases with the objectives of SRF and Safe Systems principles.

Overall, LAs found developing their business case for SRF a reasonable process. LAs understood SRF was a new scheme with teething issues and their experiences reveal components of SRF to be maintained, strengthened and replaced to provide a more efficient and effective administration process.

Road accident casualties in Britain and the world

In 2016 there were 181,384 accident casualties recorded on Britain’s roads; 1,792 of these were fatal. The long-term trend in the numbers killed and injured from road accidents has been declining, especially in the last two decades.

In 2016 46% of those fatal road accident victims were car occupants; 25% were pedestrians; 25% motorcyclists; and 6% were cyclists

In Great Britain, the overall number of fatalities and road casualties has been in long term decline since the mid-1960s, and especially since the mid-1990s. Measures to address drink driving and improve safety of vehicles and roads have all contributed to this decline which has occurred while road traffic has been increasing.

According to the World Health Organisation, more than 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. Injuries from road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among people aged between 15 and 29 years of age.

Between 20 and 50 million more people suffer non-fatal injuries.

More than 90% of road traffic deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. Road traffic injury death rates are highest in the African region.

The newly adopted 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development has set a target to halve the global number of deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020.

Full details, including statistics, can be found in HC Library briefing paper Road accident casualties in Britain and the world, CBP 7615, 23 April 2018.

 

Commons Debate packs CDP-2018-0222

Author: Louise Butcher

Topic: Roads

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