Dying for capital spending: Local road safety on the ropes

Dominic Browne

The head of the Road Safety Foundation (RSF) has raised concerns about the state of local road safety engineering in the UK, suggesting the necessary skills and finance are simply dying out.

Dr Suzy Charman (pictured), executive director of the RSF, told the Road Safety Markings Association's annual conference that the situation had become critical in local government.

Fresh from the success of the £100m Safer Roads Fund (SRF) to tackle 48 stretches of dangerous road, Dr Charman outlined how much of a breakthrough the cash was.

'A lot of the local authorities told us they had no capital to spend on road safety and even the larger counties would have £1m to £1.5m to spend a year. These are very small amounts when it comes to road safety.

'We came along with the Safer Roads Fund cash and said, "you have £2m to spend on just one road", so it was a real game-changer, and really important to keep those road safety engineering skills alive.'

Roads targeted by the fund could be up to 50 times more dangerous than other routes.

The £100m cash pot was originally slated as £175m but was scaled back, with the remaining £75m unanswered for. The cash has been allocated and will be spent by March 2021.

'We estimate 1,450 lives and serious injuries will be saved over 20 years [because of the SRF] with a societal benefit of £550m. When you factor in maintenance and refreshment it has a benefit cost ratio for the whole portfolio of 4.4. This is much higher than HS2's [estimated at around 2.27 by government].'

Road safety improvements have stalled in the UK, in part due to the reduction in financing and skills in local government, meaning the international target of halving road deaths by the end of the decade is set to be missed. 

Dr Charman told the RSMA: 'We have done well since the 1970s. road death numbers dropped off fairly swiftly. We have had two plateaus - one in the late 90s and most recently since around 2010/2011.

'That is in the context of international endeavours and sustainable development goals that are trying to see road deaths reduce by half within a decade. Really we should be trying to reduce deaths by half since 2010. We are not going to get there we are not going to get even close to there.

'Our calculations show by not halving deaths, we have lost an extra 2,500 people to road traffic crashes. An astonishing number just because we have not been tracking what we should have been.'

Highways jobs

Director of Integrated Transport

Liverpool City Region
Salary up to £124,848
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is embarking on a search for an exceptional individual with the passion to deliver on our vision Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region

Highways Manager

Oxford Direct Services
Oxford Direct Services
Recuriter: Oxford Direct Services

Data Entry Administrator

Telford & Wrekin Council
£18,795 - £19,171
Telford & Wrekin’s Public Protection Service is looking for an enthusiastic and self-motivated Data Entry Administrator Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Transport Planner

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 to £38,423
You’ll have previous experience of working in a transport/planning/accessible transport environment Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Parking Business Administrator Level 3 Apprenticeship

Brent Council
£15,000 p.a. inc.
This role will support the Brent Parking Team work to provide administrative support for both the Notice Processing Team Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Principal Engineer (Development)

Liverpool City Council
£37,849 - £42,683
Liverpool City Council wish to recruit a Principal Engineer (Development) to provide managerial and technical support. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Traffic Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£55,503 - £60,578
We are looking to recruit a Traffic Manager to join our Highways team Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Team Leader x2 - Passenger Transport

Redbridge London Borough Council
£27,228 - £28,215 per annum
You will be responsible for overseeing the duties of Passenger Transport drivers as well as providing support to the service and managers. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

UTMC Engineer

Warrington Borough Council
£31,371 - £34,788
You will support the UTMC Principal Engineer and work as part of a team responsible for all aspects of Urban Traffic Management and Control Warrington, Cheshire
Recuriter: Warrington Borough Council

Programme Assurance Manager Public Realm

Westminster City Council
£46,293 - £49,203 per annum
A graduate, or have equivalent experience, and you can show evidence of continued professional, managerial and personal development... City of Westminster, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Westminster City Council

Trading Standards Officer (Intellectual Property)

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 - £42,490 Per annum
Seeking to recruit highly motivated and experienced Trading Standards Officer’s to join our busy Business and Consumer Services team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Project Manager (LED Project)

Camden London Borough Council
£40,829 - £47,360
Seking a knowledgeable and engaging Project Manager to lead, shape and steer a professional engineering service.   Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Principal Planning Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£42,656 to £51,690
We have an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic Principal Planning Officer within our Development Management Team, based in Richmond.  Twickenham, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Programme Technician/Engineer

Norfolk County Council
£29,636 - £31,371 per annum
This is a challenging position which involves working across wide ranging activities. Norwich, Norfolk
Recuriter: Norfolk County Council

Health and Safety Environmental Health Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 - £42,490 per annum
The Successful candidate will hold BSc/MSc or Diploma in Environmental Health and be EHRB registered as an... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Safety, Health and Environment Technician Apprentice

North Yorkshire County Council
£19,171 to £19,945
Are you a self-starter, have a willingness to learn and have a proactive approach? Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Head of Parking and Traffic Services

Redbridge London Borough Council
Up to £79,000 + benefits
Lead progress in parking Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Senior Environmental Services Strategy and Change Officer

Brent Council
£42,684 - £45,585 p.a. inc.
You will be experienced and skilled at designing and delivering cultural change in a large complex organisation and... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Project Director (Liveable Exeter Garden City)

Exeter City Council
Up to £75,000 per annum
Our goal is to make Exeter a leading sustainable city Exeter, Devon
Recuriter: Exeter City Council

Highway Asset Engineer

Lambeth Council
£38,403 pa rising in annual increments to £41,466 pa incl LW
Lambeth is a vibrant place with a diverse population and an exciting cultural scene. Lambeth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Lambeth Council

Highways on Fridays

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Zero carbon roads?

Modelling the future

A breath of fresh air

View the latest issue

Latest Video