Transport planner acclaimed for research project

11.55 | 15 August 2019 |


A young transport planner working for Devon County Council has won a prestigious prize for her work looking at road casualties linked to areas of deprivation in a rural environment.

Lucy Martin won the 2018 Voorhees-Large Prize, presented by the trustees of the Brian Large Bursary Fund, for her Southampton University  Masters dissertation, ‘Geo-Demographic Profiling of Road Casualty Risk across Devon’.

Lucy, an assistant transport planning officer at Devon County Council, was presented with the £1,000 prize at the 2019 Transport Practitioners’ Meeting’s Awards Dinner in Oxford on 10 July.

After graduating from the University of Exeter in 2016, Lucy began her career  in the road safety team at Devon County Council, working on a variety of projects concerned with collision data analysis – and became interested in how socio-economic datasets held by the council’s public health department could become ‘exciting and enlightening tools’ in the road safety arena.

To further her professional development and technical understanding, Lucy decided to study for a Transport Masters at the University of Southampton, graduating with distinction.

Lucy Martin said: ‘The consequences of international targets to reduce killed and seriously injured road casualties by 50% by 2020 filter down to impact local governments, many of whom place behavioural change central to safety strategies. 

“In my dissertation I investigated correlations between deprivation and road casualties in the rural county of Devon, and recommended behavioural interventions tailored to groups in society joined by both geographic and socio-economic character.”

Lucy found that while each aspect of the English Indices of Multiple Deprivation – which measure relative deprivation in small areas across the country – can be linked to international road casualty studies, much UK road safety research focuses on child pedestrians – and specifically on urban areas. 

This finding identified a need to investigate the rural context where, as Public Health England asserts, deprivation manifests differently. 

Lucy Martin said: “In my research I linked Experian’s MOSAIC Public Sector (a geo-demographic database) with the Indices of Multiple Deprivation and Devon County Council’s collision data. 

“Statistical analysis combined with the wealth of information profiled within MOSAIC Public Sector led to the recommendation of adapted road safety interventions for high risk groups.”

Lucy’s finding largely align with previous studies, and demonstrate how ‘significant negative correlations between deprivation and road casualty risk perpetuate in Devon’. 

However, the use of MOSAIC’s more sophisticated analysis also highlighted nuanced pockets of ‘privileged’ casualties, otherwise obscured in the general deprivation trend.

Speaking about winning the 2018 Voorhees-Large Prize, Lucy said: ‘I would like to thank my supervisors at the University of Southampton and colleagues at Devon County Council for their advice and encouragement throughout my Masters studies. 

“It is an honour to receive this award, and as road safety and transport planning become increasingly viewed in a public health context I hope to see the many exciting opportunities data sharing presents come to fruition.”



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