I would like to share with you a few of my impressions of PACTS after one month as the new Executive Director, to let you know about some developments and to invite your comments.
I have been struck by the large number of individuals and organisations who support PACTS, either financially or with expert advice and assistance through participation in PACTS working parties or through less formal channels. This says a lot for the reputation that PACTS has earned and maintained over its thirty years of existence. There is tremendous goodwill towards PACTS, even among those who take a different policy line on certain issues. I have also learnt about the valuable work going on and expertise that exists in partner organisations. Many of you have also told me how you feel there is a particular need at present for PACTS, in partnership with others, to show leadership on transport safety issues.
The PACTS Directors have made it clear to me that they want PACTS to meet this challenge. They want PACTS to be even more ambitious, to be a leading voice on transport safety (aviation, rail and road) and to develop focused, evidence-led campaigns with tangible outcomes. They have instructed me to draw up a new strategic plan. With this objective in mind the Directors, parliamentary co-chairs, working party chairs and others will be meeting in early March to discuss priorities, resources and structures for the period up to and beyond the general election, due in 2015.
Rest assured, however, that the PACTS staff are not spending their time navel gazing! The bumper newsletter that follows, produced by Policy and Research Officer Naomi Baster, shows the range of activities in which we are engaged and the information that Naomi is tracking on your behalf. Communications and Events Manager, Sally Le Marquand, is finalising details for the PACTS Lies, damned lies and statistics conference on 21 March. Bookings are coming in fast so don’t delay. I feel fortunate to be working with two such dedicated and capable colleagues.
On Tuesday last week, with Professor Oliver Carsten of Leeds University and Simon D’Vali representing the Core Cities, I met with Transport Minister Stephen Hammond MP for 40 minutes. We put the case for more government leadership, resources and monitoring for road safety, based on a safe systems approach. This is just one of four PACTS events in four months in which Stephen Hammond will take part and we welcome this increased level of engagement by government ministers. The following day, I presented oral evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group on cycle safety, as part of the APPG’s inquiry Get Britain Cycling.
Last week saw the 30th anniversary of compulsory seat belt wearing, legislation that is credited with saving thousand of lives. PACTS was created to campaign for this legislation and many of its founder members, including MPs Barry Sheerman and Sir Peter Bottomley, remain firmly committed to PACTS. PACTS intends to work closely with MPs and Peers of all parties in the future.
None of what we do would be possible without the financial support of our members and sponsors, particularly Volvo, Robert Bosch Ltd and Direct Line. Most recently we have received generous grants from the Ashden Trust and GEM Motoring Assist Road Safety Charity Trust. It has been very useful for me to meet with companies and organisations considering PACTS membership, to learn about their concerns and contributions to transport safety, and to discuss how we might work together (see Newsletter). The Directors have agreed to freeze subscriptions rates for the third year in a row, in recognition of the difficult financial circumstances. PACTS will continue to look for efficiencies in our operations and to raise money from other sources.
I have inherited an organisation with a strong reputation thanks to the skilled and tireless work of Robert Gifford. I am sure he will continue to play an important role in transport safety and I wish him and the Gifford Partnership every success in this new venture.
I look forward to meeting you in 2013, at PACTS events or elsewhere. Meanwhile, if you have comments on how PACTS should develop, please get in touch.
With very best wishes
1st February 2013
February 2013 PACTS Newsletter
Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics?
Event Date: March 21, 2013
This conference will explore the casualty trends and trajectories for different road user groups over recent years. It will examine the impacts of safety measures and attempt to assess the wider societal factors affecting road safety. It will also examine how confident we can be about the reliability of crash and injury data and how knowledge about crime data may affect our understanding of the impact of interventions. Join us for a challenging day looking at the real numbers and what they tell us.
Speed Summit 2013
The 3rd Speed Summit is organised by Landor Links and sponsored by the Local Government Technical Advisors Group. Speed is one of the most important and talked about topics in transport policy. The subject is contentious and debate arouses strong emotions. This event deals with the detail of the latest speed policy and enforcement. Local authority officers will cover practical implementation issues and solutions. A range of organisations, representing local government, motoring and road safety groups will also give their views.
More information and booking. Private Sector delegates can support PACTS by including ‘PACTS’ in the Purchase Order details.
Shadow transport team reshuffle
The Labour shadow transport team has been reshuffled after John Woodcock stepped down to recover from an injury. Yvonne Fovargue has been appointed to Labour’s front-bench team, and will take on the important local transport brief, with a focus on the need to support local authorities to reregulate local bus services and deliver a major step forward in support for cycling including separated cycling infrastructure.
Jim Fitzpatrick continues as Maria Eagle’s deputy but with an expanded brief that adds roads policy to his existing responsibilities for aviation, shipping, road safety and London.
Lilian Greenwood has been given “an essential new brief” becoming Labour’s voice on rail, ahead of a crucial year which will see rail fares, franchising and HS2 dominating the transport agenda, and with Labour beginning to set out its own alternative plans for the industry.
TRL announces the launch of MAAPcloud
TRL and Road Safety Analysis have launched a new generation version of MAAP, the world’s most widely used off-the-shelf road traffic collision data software which TRL has supplied in the UK and globally since the 1980s. This brand new version provides a better fit with today’s technological environments, and offers additional capabilities for the road safety professionals who use it.
Road Safety: A review of UK and European data
This analysis by RAC Foundation publication, Road Safety: A review of UK and European data, shows that the recent bleak winter weather is likely to have reduced the number of people being killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads. Evidence from previous years suggests that periods of snow and ice actually lead to lower levels of traffic, lower speeds amongst those drivers who do venture out and hence less serious accidents when they do occur.
But the fluctuations in the statistics caused by the weather risk obscuring the underlying road safety picture. Although Britain currently has one of the best road safety records in Europe it is also ranked in the bottom 25 per cent of 29 European countries in terms of its vision for cutting death and injury on the road network in the future.
ACPO release figures from Christmas anti-drink and drug driving campaign
The Association of Chief Police Officers has released figures for its anti-drink and drug driving campaign which revealed that during the month of December, more than 175,000 people were stopped and tested for drink driving compared to nearly 157,000 people in 2011.
20 years of the single market, 20 achievements in transport
The European Commission has produced a booklet highlighting the work it has done over the past 20 years to make transport better.
Aviation: Commission proposes new rules to prevent aircraft accidents
The European Commission has proposed new rules for the better protection of air passengers, aiming to achieve a decreased number of aircraft accidents and fatalities through better use of data on occurrences. An occurrence is any type of event significant in the context of aviation safety which might or might not have resulted in an actual accident but which merits being collected and analysed. In addition, the new rules would promote more efficient exchange of information between Member States. This legislative proposal is the core element of the future European aviation safety system which aims to shift Europe towards a proactive and evidence-based safety system, i.e. a system that attempts to foresee and prevent accidents based on the collection and analysis of data, rather than simply reacting after accidents
Rail Safety Performance – December 2012
The Rail Safety and Standards Board has published the following:
The monthly SPAD Cat A and TPWS Report for December 2012
As well as encouraging and supporting the sharing of Britain’s expertise and knowledge, PACTS is committed to using the Decade of Action for Road Safety as an opportunity to build on existing European and international contacts and learn from experience from outside the UK. Therefore each month a publication from a different country will be featured on the Decade of Action page on the PACTS website.
The latest study by the International Transport Forum, Sharing Road Safety, calls for a more standardised approach for estimating the benefits of road safety initiatives.
Governments can more effectively improve road safety by making better use of indicators that reliably quantify the reduction of crashes due to interventions in the road-traffic system. According to the study, lack of quantifiable evidence about the effects of countermeasures – such as roadway signage, pedestrian crossing treatments, roadway geometric features, etc. – on road crashes is a key obstacle to the advancement of many critical, life-saving road safety initiatives.
Through the use of indicators – so-called Crash Modification Functions (CMF) that provide measures of how interventions affect the number and gravity of road crashes – governments can reduce the risk of taking decisions that have little or no impact on improving road safety.
There has been a change in membership of the Transport Select Committee. Though John Leech has left he remains committed to road safety and will continue to be a co-chair of PACTS.
Cycling Infrastructure Funding
Date: January 30, 2013
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Norman Baker): I am pleased to announce today details of a major investment of over £62 million in cycling in England.
Local Speed Limits
Date: January 18, 2013
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Stephen Hammond): The Department has today published a revised speed limit circular, “Setting Local Speed Limits” (DFT Circular 01/2013). This follows a consultation held last summer, the report of which is also published today. The Department is also today publishing a speed limit appraisal tool, which will be hosted on the DFT’s website. These follow up key commitments from the Government’s “Strategic Framework for Road Safety” published in May 2011.
Crime and Courts Bill
Date: January 14, 2013
The Crime and Courts Bill had its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 14th January, when Rebecca Harris MP made a speech relating to road safety. The Bill now moves to Committee Stage.
Speed Limits (Rural Lincolnshire)
Date: January 9, 2013
Stephen Phillips (Sleaford and North Hykeham) (Con): It is a great honour and a privilege to have tonight’s Adjournment debate and to raise an issue that I know is of great importance to many of my constituents—the issue of speed limits in rural Lincolnshire.
Parliamentary questions are tools that can be used by Members of Parliament to seek information or to press for action. They oblige Ministers to explain and defend the work, policy decisions and actions of their Departments.
All transport safety parliamentary questions and PACTS comments can be viewed here.
This question was asked during the week beginning 21st January.
David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what safety measures have been implemented since the Tebay rail accident. 
Mr Simon Burns: The RSSB (formally the Rail Safety and Standards Board) held an independent inquiry into the Tebay accident of 15 February 2004. Its report, “Track Worker Fatalities at Tebay on 15 February 2004”, was published in October 2004 (a summary is available from
and contained 12 recommendations. All have been successfully implemented.
In February 2012 Network Rail announced plans to spend £5 million to further improve the safety of its road-rail vehicles (“RRVs”) by adding extra disc brakes to more than 300-flat trolleys used to move materials to and from railway worksites. It is also developing a secondary protection and warning system, with the close involvement of rail unions, and other measures aimed at reducing the risks of and from runaway vehicles.
In the longer term, Network Rail is seeking to design and develop a new generation of RRVs specifically built for use on the railway. The Office of Rail Regulation, the industry’s independent health and safety regulator, has had a focused inspection programme looking to improve the safe use of RRVs since 2009 and plans to continue monitoring whether the industry is controlling the risk from and to the use of RRVs in 2013-14, including Network Rail’s development of a new generation of RRVs.
PACTS NEW MEMBERS
We are pleased to announce that TR Fleet joined PACTS early in January.
“We are delighted to become members of PACTS. TR Fleet is committed to supporting companies in managing their fleets safely and effectively, and educating employers and company drivers about the risks associated with driving for work.
“Our work in developing DriveSecure, a risk management programme for company fleets, and our partnership with Specsavers to tackle the issue of poor eyesight in drivers are just two initiatives that we are driving forward, and we welcome the opportunity to share our experience and work with PACTS towards safer roads for all.”
Julie Boyd, Managing Director, TR Fleet
And immediately prior to publishing this newsletter we welcomed two more new members, Safer Roads Foundation and Simonyx.
Keep up to date on transport safety news on Twitter: http://twitter.com/pacts