Image: Road Safety Foundation
The UK’s ‘A’ road network needs an ‘immediate injection of £200m’ to tackle high risk road sections, a new report has concluded.
Published today (21 Nov), the Road Safety Foundation’s annual tracking report says 6,111km of road – across more than 550 sections – poses an ‘unacceptably high’ level of risk.
The Road Safety Foundation says the condition of these roads will need to be addressed by the Government’s Safer Roads Fund ‘in the drive to bring road deaths towards zero’.
The Foundation has praised the Safer Roads Fund which was introduced last year, describing it as an ‘innovative allocation of funds to tackle a portfolio of the most dangerous roads in England’.
The report has been published alongside a new Road Crash Index, which shows the number of fatal and serious crashes and cost of dealing with road crashes in every county in England, Scotland and Wales. The index also includes a league table based on safety improvement performance and maps showing each county’s highest risk and most improved roads.
IAM RoadSmart has backed the Foundation’s call for investment, saying that additional funding would be a ‘relatively low-cost way of making an immediate difference to roads that are a risk to high numbers of road users’.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “A lot of research has gone into identifying which roads could be improved at a modest cost, delivering fewer serious injury and fatal crashes, as well as less disruption on our already overburdened roads.”
The Road Safety Foundation report, titled ‘Cutting the Cost of Dangerous Roads’, names the A537 between Macclesfield and Buxton, known as the Cat and Fiddle, as Great Britain’s highest risk road. The most improved road is the A4151 in Gloucestershire from Nailbridge to the A48.
The report also finds that single carriageway ‘A’ roads pose seven times the risk of motorways and nearly three times the risk of dual carriageway ‘A’ roads. ‘High risk’ single carriageway roads are described as 67 times more risky than low risk single carriageways.
With regard to the English strategic road network (SRN) managed by Highways England, the report shows that 90% of motorway travel and 23% of dual carriageway travel is now on ‘low risk sections’. However, only 1% of travel on single carriageways is on low risk sections, while 8% is on medium-high risk sections.
19% of local authority roads by length are described as high risk or medium-high risk and as having unacceptably high levels of risk. These unacceptably high risk roads carry 13% of local authority traffic.
The report also identifies ‘changing trends’ with regard to vulnerable road users. While this year’s report shows two of the top 10 most dangerous roads with more than 50% of the crashes involving motorcyclists, five of the roads in this table now have more than 50% of crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists.
Lord Whitty, Road Safety Foundation chairman, said: “Last year’s innovative allocation of funds to tackle a portfolio of the 50 most dangerous roads in England enabled the introduction of a new systematic and proactive approach to cutting the social and economic cost of road crashes.
“It has been warmly welcomed by councils and authorities and ushers in a new era of best practice. Known high risks are identified through research. Roads are inspected along their length so that risks can be systematically identified and then removed, often before people are killed or hurt.”