Two-thirds of England’s 1,600 km of single carriageway trunk roads win only a two-star rating according to a report by the Road Safety Foundation.
The Road Safety Foundation has inspected 95% of the 7,000 km Highways Agency (HA) network in England, and safety rated it to an international star rating system being applied worldwide as part of a new approach to make road infrastructure safer.
The European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP) Road Protection Score is a scale for rating roads on how well the design protects users from death or disabling injury when a crash occurs. Its sister programme, EuroNCAP, similarly measures the crash protection provided by new cars.
Four stars is the highest rating in the scale and motorways without deficiencies achieve this. Of the HA’s network, 50% of motorways reach four-star level, 78% of dual carriageways rate three-stars but two thirds of single carriageway trunk roads achieve only a two-star rating.
Dr Joanne Hill, director of the Road Safety Foundation, said: "Our assessment of trunk roads considers three key elements: the protection provided if vehicles run off the road; the risk of
head-on collisions; and the safety of junctions.
"Motorways are our safest roads, scoring well on two of these factors but half do not protect road users who, for whatever reason, run off the road.
"Dual carriageways score well on head-on protection with 97% reaching the highest standard – but 90% fail to reach the highest standards for run-off protection. A quarter feature surface level junctions, lay-bys and minor accesses which do not afford the protection necessary for busy inter-urban roads, giving them low scores. Overall scores combined, 78% of the dual carriageway network rates three-stars.
"Single carriageways lack most of the safety features that would protect road users and almost two-thirds (62%) get an overall rating of two-stars. 91% fail to reach high standards for run-off. Head-on collisions are prevented only by road markings. Where road sections have junctions, few layouts rate well."
Dr Hill praises the Highways Agency for its openness and co-operation in compiling the report. "The Agency has seen the benefit of this approach and how these results can help guide future improvements to prevent the 2,000 deaths and serious injuries annually on its network.
"Importantly, the Agency is providing a lead to other road authorities in the UK and across Europe."
Click here to read the full EuroRAP news release.