PACTS Publishes a Road Safety Review after 10 Years of the “Tomorrow’s Roads: Safer for Everyone” Strategy.

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) today publishes its independent analysis of progress towards the 2010 road casualty reduction targets. March 1 marks the tenth anniversary of the publication “Tomorrow’s Roads: Safer for Everyone” by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. The analysis is based on data up to the end of 2008. Confirmed casualty data for 2010 will not be available until June 2011.

In the report, PACTS has analysed both overall trends in casualty reduction and the different trends for road user groups, behaviours and locations. It has also looked at wider geographical groupings for casualty reduction in an attempt to assess regional variation within the national trends.

Key findings from the report include:

• The adoption of a road safety strategy and targets in 2000 helped to provide a focus for road safety activity and brought together new partnerships;
• Although Killed and Seriously Injured (KSI) figures in Great Britain were down by 40 per cent in 2008 compared with the 1994/98 baseline, different casualty reduction profiles can be observed in relation to user groups;
• Men between 20 and 40 years of age are six times more likely to die on the roads than women;
• Although there has been a significant reduction of 50% in child KSI up to the age of 16 as a result of a targeted approach developed in Tomorrow’s Roads, data shows a need for Great Britain to extend the focus to young people up to 25;
• Frailty among older road users remains high and a co-ordinated approach for this age group will be important as the population ages; and
• A more sophisticated approach will be required as the next strategy is developed, with a national vision and strategy being supported by more targeted approaches by area and user-type.

The report attempts a new approach to analysis of casualties, looking not at individual authority performance but at area-type groupings similar to ‘family groupings’ used to assess Police performance by the Home Office. Three example groupings are selected: Metropolitan County Areas, Predominantly Rural County Areas and Central Shire County Areas. Although the three groups do not cover all the highways authorities in England, this focus allows more specific observations to be made, paving the way for similar approaches in the future. Key headlines from this approach include:

• Overall KSI and child KSI reductions have been lower in the Metropolitan County Areas at 34% and 37% compared to 40% and 58% nationally. Higher levels of deprivation in these areas are seen as influencing factors on the rate of casualty reduction;
• In Predominantly Rural County Areas, KSI reductions in 2008 were just below the national average, with authorities in these areas struggling to confront more divergent casualty profiles; and
• In the Central Shire County Areas, KSI reductions at 44% in 2008 were slightly ahead of the national average. Drivers under 35 are over-represented in collisions in these areas and nearly 50% of all collisions involve people from career-driven, affluent family types.

Commenting on the report, Robert Gifford, Executive Director of PACTS, said “As we continue to think about the next road safety vision and strategy beyond 2010, we need to know what has worked and what challenges remain in the current period. This report is our attempt to help that process of analysis.

“It is clear in both the Metropolitan County Areas and in London that deprivation and road casualties are linked. This relationship should be re-appraised in the appropriate areas as part of the next road safety strategy.

“The stretched target in London introduced by the previous Mayor and supported by the work of Transport for London (TfL) has helped to achieve substantial casualty reductions beyond the national average. The presence of a body such as TfL offering support to local boroughs and managing funding for pan-London initiatives highlights the potential benefit of area-type management and co-ordination to help make our roads safer.

“Beyond 2010, we will need to focus far more on effective delivery of road safety, making better use of the data and resources we have at our disposal. Understanding regional similarities and differences will be part of that effectiveness as will the adoption of a systems based approach to road safety. It is important to recognise that crashes can happen anywhere on our road network. Society has a moral duty to act to prevent the occurrence of crashes when the cause is known and there are cost-effective methods of preventing them.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact Robert Gifford 020 7222 7732 (work)
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is a registered charity and an associate Parliamentary Group. Its charitable objective is “To protect human life through the promotion of transport safety for the public benefit”.

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