What is Road Danger Reduction?
|The road danger reduction approach to achieving safer roads seeks to reduce danger at source. This calls for a recognition of the fact that the principal source of danger on the road is motor vehicles.Traditional approaches to road safety have taken casualty reduction as a measure of achievement. Initiatives, particularly in highway engineering, have been justified on the basis of predicted casualty savings.
The danger reduction approach presents a new perspective to road safety. Why should this new perspective be encouraged?
|The Road Danger Reduction Forum has a vision of:
The RDRF is urging local authorities to adopt its charter, which will help to provide a framework for transport related policies and strategies.
|The casualty reduction effort has taken place against a backdrop of increasing car use. There are many reasons for the increase in ownership and use of cars. Changes in the economy and lifestyles have led to more motoring, less cycling, motorcycling and walking.Although overall a reduction in fatal and serious casualties has occurred, part of this reduction is strongly linked with reduced levels of walking, cycling and motorcycling. It is therefore difficult to equate reduced casualties with safer roads. In fact, pedestrians, cyclists, older people, parents of young children and local communities in general are likely to perceive that there is now more danger on our roads. The volume and speed of motorised traffic are common daily concerns of the British public at large.
Levels of road accidents are therefore not alone an adequate measure of road safety. Why should people’s perceptions matter?
|The broader dilemma|
|The need to encourage people to walk or cycle has been highlighted recently:-
This presents something of a dilemma when the roads are perceived as dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. This perceived danger is one factor which deters people from the attractions of walking and cycling. Ironically, it is this avoidance of danger which has achieved some measure of casualty reduction.
Perceived danger does matter, because it affects people’s behaviour.
|If a road safety strategy concentrates less exclusively on casualty reduction, and more on achieving an ethos of genuine road safety, it begins to develop meaningful links and share common aims with transport policy and health issues.The key focus of the latter approach lies in considering the effects of perceived danger on human behaviour. The behaviour will in turn affect the actual safety outcome, depending on the road user type. For example:-
A fundamental concern is now the unequal risk levels experienced by different road users.
This imbalance needs to be addressed by concentrating efforts on basic road safety principles such as:-
|Road Safety Strategy|
|In devising a road safety strategy, an emphasis should be put on the desired future vision.A three stage process is recommended:-
In this way, the danger reduction approach is consistent with today’s need for ‘verifiable data’ where appropriate.
The way forward
The Road Danger Reduction Forum is a grouping of professionals from road safety and allied fields who wish to encourage critical analysis and promote the danger reduction approach through:
By the end of 1996, 38 authorities had signed up to the charter, including 12 City Councils and 5 shire counties.