An investment package of £1.2 billion would improve more than 5,000km of roads and prevent more than 8,000 fatal and serious injuries over the next 20 years, according to a report published today by the Road Safety Foundation.
The report, Looking Back – Moving Forward, also suggests that the investment would boost the UK’s economic recovery and protect the NHS by saving society almost £4.4 billion over the same period.
Now in its 20th year, the annual report examines the performance of Britain’s motorway and A road network, identifying roads where lives could be saved with physical improvements.
The 2020 edition shows that 60% of all deaths are concentrated on 13% of Britain’s roads.
It also highlights ‘significant reductions’ in the number of fatal and serious crashes on 22 routes between 2013-2015 and 2016-2018. The report says the total number of fatal and serious crashes on these 400km of road fell by two-thirds – from 251 to 86 – with an estimated ‘net present value’ of £351m over 20 years.
The report also shows that 765km of 38 persistently higher risk rural routes have seen more than 1,400 fatal and serious crashes between 2013 and 2018. The value to society of preventing these would have been almost £700 million.
Dr Suzy Charman, executive director of the Road Safety Foundation and author of the report, said: “This 20th annual report shows that less than 1% of roads were significantly improved between 2013-2015 and 2016-2018.
“This report identifies an investment package of £1.2 billion that would see over 5,000km of roads treated, preventing an estimated 8,000 fatal and serious injuries over 20 years, with great returns: every £1 invested should benefit society by an average of around £3.60.
“We’ve already demonstrated that infrastructure safety measures can be developed and implemented very quickly, providing jobs and saving lives.
“At a time when we need to boost our economic recovery and protect the NHS, what better way of saving our society an estimated £4.4 billion over the next 20 years.”
The report shows that between 2013-2015 and 2016-2018, the number of fatal and serious crashes on the EuroRAP network increased by 6%. Fatal crashes increased by 4% from 2,869 in 2013-2015 to 2,973 in 2016-2018 on the surveyed roads.
The data from the report has been used to update an interactive ‘dangerous roads map’, which reveals Britain’s riskiest roads and highlights where targeted investment could save lives.