Charity wins contract to review Highways England safety spend

05/11/2019
Chris Ames

Regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has awarded the Road Safety Foundation (RSF) a contract to review how Highways England prioritises its road safety investments.

The road safety charity will look at how the company ranks the location and type of scheme; how decisions are influenced by Highways England’s key performance indicators; and how it takes account of the safety star rating of the network when making investment decisions.

It follows the disclosure, as previously reported on Highways, that Highways England is likely to miss a key safety target based on the iRAP/EuroRap star rating system.

In addition, following concerns over the safety of all lane running smart motorways, the four-month project will assess ‘how safety investment on smart motorways is appraised, prioritised and evaluated’.

It will also examine how Highways England considers safety outcomes in its economic appraisal of future schemes, how it evaluates the success of safety schemes and how this subsequently informs future investment priorities.

In addition, it will look at how cycling, safety and integration ring-fenced fund and safety improvements are delivered as part of major schemes.

Kate Fuller, acting executive director of the Road Safety Foundation, said: 'This commission is an ideal opportunity to health-check the approach of Highways England to road safety in a timely way. This should help to shape and influence future programmes of interventions in order to get better value for money, save more lives and reduce injuries on our strategic road network.

'We are proposing an in-depth analysis, which will include detailed person to person interviews and comparisons with best practice around the world. The outcome should be of value to everyone in the industry, including local highway authorities.'

Iain Ritchie, the ORR’s performance analyst said: ‘By highlighting areas of best practice, and identifying opportunities for further improvement, the project will support Highways England in achieving its long-term goal that nobody is harmed when travelling or working on the strategic road network.’

To deliver the project, the RSF is working with Jeanne Breen OBE, a global expert in road safety management, and Tony Ciaburro of Castello Consulting.

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