Twenty years of systematic campaigning, training and encouraging road authorities to save lives through safer road design is reaping significant rewards, according to a new report.
Over the past two decades, the Road Safety Foundation has been tracking the performance of motorways and A roads in Great Britain, showing how risk varies across the road network and identifying roads that have improved significantly over time – and those that remain persistently higher risk.
The report, set to be published later this month, shows that fatalities on the network mapped by the Road Safety Foundation fell by 48% between 1997-99 and 2016-18.
The report highlights one route – the A448 in Warwickshire – which has improved from high risk in 1997-1999 to low risk in 2016-2018. There were seven fatal and serious crashes on this route in 1997-1999 compared with none during the most recent three years.
The 4km section of the A448 is a local single carriageway between the A435 and the A441 in Redditch. The road is roughly equally split between 40mph and 50mph speed limits and carries 9,000 vehicles per day.
Over the years the location has had speed roundel markings and red surface treatment added, along with the installation of two vehicle-activated signs and yellow-backed warning signs at certain points. The location is also subject to regular police mobile enforcement.
Dr Suzy Charman, executive director of the Road Safety Foundation and author of the report, said: “Twenty years of systematic campaigning, training and encouraging road authorities to save lives through safer road design is reaping significant rewards.
“Over two decades, the annual performance tracking of improvements in British road sections has revealed some outstanding examples where targeted investment by authorities in safer infrastructure delivered casualty savings of 50% or more.
“But, sadly, this road section was exceptional. Typically, less than 2% of road sections showed any measurable improvement in successive annual Crash Risk Mapping reports.
“This year less than 1% of road sections show significant improvement.”