Standardised categories for rural roads 'could save lives'

02/03/2023
Chris Ames

Researchers have proposed a new way of sub-dividing so-called ‘rural roads’, which they say could cut casualties.

The RAC Foundation said work carried out on its behalf by consultants Agilysis has taken the first steps in breaking down rural roads into several subcategories so that crashes can be better understood, and money better spent to reduce deaths and serious injuries.

It pointed out that government statistics – derived from police crash reports – show that 981 (63%) of the 1,558 road deaths in Britain in 2021 were listed as occurring on rural roads – a definition that means outside a town or city.

‘However, 649 of these deaths (66% of 981) took place not on the twisting country lanes we might imagine as the typical rural route but on motorways (86 deaths) and A roads (563 deaths).’

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘This report suggests there are at least 10 types of “rural” road with specific characteristics, and the only thing they have in common is that they run outside our big towns and cities.

‘The risk is that the catch-all term “rural road” has hidden a multitude of different highway types, each of which poses its own range of road safety challenges. The better we understand our roads and the risks users face on them, the better targeted our decisions on when and where to spend money will be.’

He added: ‘New, standardised categories would allow the dozens of police forces, hundreds of councils and any number of road safety professionals to use a common terminology to compare experiences and deploy those interventions most likely to reduce risk.’

The researchers decided on a range of road characteristics to meaningfully divide rural roads, including: width; traffic flow; traffic type; speed limit; gradient; markings; location; surrounding land use; population density; and remoteness.’

Machine learning was then used to help compare and contrast the characteristics of a sample group of 483 sections of rural roads (not including motorways) which were also appraised by a highway engineer.

Four main categories of rural road were then identified:

  1. Principal roads – generally wide, fast moving and flat, sometimes dual carriageway, often close to populated areas
  2. Country roads – narrower, sometimes undulating, single-carriageway with moderate traffic levels
  3. Neighbourhood roads – through rural communities
  4. Winding roads - narrow single carriageways, mostly unclassified and sometimes single track, generally low speed and with little traffic

Bruce Walton, technical director of Agilysis and Road Safety Analysis, said: 'This study is an opportunity to tackle a long-standing challenge in road safety: how to address road danger on rural routes, which are easily overlooked because they are lightly trafficked or run through remote areas.

'The report outlines a mechanism to help engineers and blue light services do this more effectively. It also proposes a practical process which could deliver it, creating the prospect of further research to develop a coherent national approach that provides valuable insight into our sometimes-neglected rural road network.'

The full report can be downloaded from the RAC Foundation website.

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

ALSO INSIDE:

  • Traffex A new stage for the UK’s festival of transport
  • Contract leagues: 2023 champions revealed
View the latest issue


Highways jobs

Waste Loading Operative - CMB877e

£23,893
You will work as part of a team of front-line Waste staff, providing refuse collection, recycling and environmental cleansing services. Cumbria
Recruiter: Cumberland Council

Street Lighting Electrician

Grade 8, £31,372 - £34,949
We are passionate about Doncaster - it’s a great place to live, do business and visit. Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Recruiter: City Of Doncaster Council

Waste and Recycling Apprentice

£5.28 per hour/£10,158 per annum (from 1st April 2023)
There’s never been a more exciting time to join Doncaster Council. Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Recruiter: City Of Doncaster Council

City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements Delivery Lead

£51,997
Are you keen to develop these skills further as a major part of the Government’s approach to economic growth and levelling up? Birmingham, West Midlands
Recruiter: Department for Transport

Officer Traffic Control Centre OCC609561

£29,269 - £32,076 per annum
This role in our team supports the movement of traffic across Oxfordshire by responding to both planned and unplanned events. Oxfordshire
Recruiter: Oxfordshire County Council

Assistant Auditor (Apprentice) - OCC614969

£26,873 - £28,770 per annum
Each role at OCC is different and we know the needs of individuals are also varied Oxfordshire
Recruiter: Oxfordshire County Council

Technical Lead - SUDs drainage engineer - OCC614854

£47,420 - £50,512 per annum
Please note we are actively looking at our ways of working using everything we have learnt and heard from our employees. Oxfordshire
Recruiter: Oxfordshire County Council

3x Assistant Transport Development Officer - OCC614613

£29,269 - £32,076 per annum
Oxfordshire County Council’s Transport Development Management team has a prime role in creating high-quality, sustainable places Oxfordshire
Recruiter: Oxfordshire County Council

Principal ECC NEC Site Supervisor OCC53491

£42,821 - £45,859 per annum
You will lead a team of NEC Supervisors in the supervision of the delivery of a varied range of major highway projects. Oxfordshire
Recruiter: Oxfordshire County Council

Assistant Officer (Operations) - OCC614653

£26,873 - £28,770 per annum
The Network Management Service includes three teams
Recruiter: Oxfordshire County Council

Senior Engineer

£44,428 - £47,420
This is an exciting time to be a Senior Engineer within the Transportation Infrastructure Service. Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recruiter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Senior Officer (Structural Engineering) - OCC613924

£47,420 - £50,512 per annum
It is an exciting time to join Oxfordshire County Council’s Highways team. Oxfordshire
Recruiter: Oxfordshire County Council

Highways Technician

£29,777 - £33,945
Professional/Technical job holders rely upon their deep knowledge of the specialism or discipline Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recruiter: Milton Keynes Council

Workshop Engineer

Grade 7 Level 1 - 4 (£29,230 - £31,391) plus 3 hours per week contractual overtime
The City of York Council’s Fleet team have an exciting opportunity for a Workshop Engineer. York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Operational Manager (Highway Structures) - OCC613920

£64,419 - £67,663 per annum
It is an exciting time to join Oxfordshire County Council’s Highways team. Oxfordshire
Recruiter: Oxfordshire County Council

Business Partner - Fleet Management - WMF914e

£44,428 - £45,441
This is an exciting and unique opportunity to assist in the delivery of a new Fleet Services Team for the Council. Cumbria
Recruiter: Westmorland and Furness Council

HGV Technician

£33,024 - £35,745
We are currently looking to recruit an experienced HGV technician, to join our in-house maintenance operation based in Hellaby, Rotherham. Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recruiter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Senior Planning Officer (572806)

PO2/PO3 - £37,336 pa - £43,421 pa
Bradford and its’ extensive district is an award winning, cultural destination and one of the youngest, most vibrant places in the country. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of Bradford MDC

Senior Highways Network Technician WMF919e

£32,076 - £33,024
Westmorland and Furness Council, Highways and Transport service, are looking for an experienced, motivated, and friendly individual. Cumbria
Recruiter: Westmorland and Furness Council

Development Management Officer (078389)

£32,076 Per Annum to £35,745 Per Annum
Have you got an interest in continuing or developing a career in Highways Engineering? North Yorkshire / Hybrid
Recruiter: North Yorkshire Council

Highways Presents

 


Latest Video