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Road Safety Audit

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Road Safety Audit

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Road Safety Audit

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  1. Road Safety Audit Hossein Naraghi CE 590 Special Topics Safety June 2003 Time spent:9 hrs

  2. Road Safety Audit • A complementary action to accident reduction is accident prevention • The aim is to ensure that the road system is safe • One of the key component of accident prevention involves the use of safety checks or safety audits • The focus is on the design of new road and traffic schemes • Sometimes the focus is on the existing roadway

  3. Definition and objectives of road safety audit • Significant improvements in safety are not automatic safety must be • Systematically designed into each project • Highway designers must seek safety opportunities specific to each project and apply sound safety and traffic engineering principles • This process which aimed at preventive road safety engineering is the road safety audit

  4. Definition and objectives of road safety audit (continued) • The Roads and Traffic Authority of New South Wales describe safety audit as • “A means of checking the design, implementation and operation of road projects against a set of safety principles as a means of accident prevention and treatment”

  5. Essential elements • The essential elements of the road safety audit process are • A formal process and not an informal check • An independent process • Carried out by someone with appropriate experience and training • Restricted to road safety issues

  6. Safety audit objectives • The objective of the road safety audit is to • Minimize the risk and severity of road accidents that might be affected by the road project at the site or nearby network • Minimize the need for remedial work after construction • Reduce the whole-life costs of the project • Improve the awareness of the safe design practices by all of those involved in the planning, design, construction and maintenance of roads

  7. Safety audit objectives (continued) • Road safety audit can work in two ways: • Removing preventable crash producing elements at the planning or design stage • e.g. inappropriate intersection layouts • Mitigating the effects of remaining or existing problems • Inclusion of suitable accident reducing features • Anti-skid surfacing • Guard fencing • Traffic control devices • Delineation, and etc

  8. Safety audit objectives (continued) • Highway designers and traffic engineers have always practiced a form of safety audit • What is important about the recent emergence of the practice is • Its specific incorporation as a discrete phase • Independent of the designer • Development of defined auditing procedures • Followed within a road or traffic agency • May be incorporated within an overall quality management or quality assurance process within the agency

  9. Use of road safety audit • The concept of road safety audit emerged initially in Britain in 1980’s • It was one of the key response to the Government’s target of reducing road fatalities by one-third by the year 2000 • It was given impetus by the preparation of two key publications • Road Safety Code of Good Practice • Local Authorities Association, 1989 • Guidelines for the Safety Audits of Highways • Institution of Highways and Transportation, 1990

  10. Use of road safety audit (continued) • Road safety audit was made mandatory for all national trunk roads and motorways in 1991 • In the light of the success of British experiences the process has also adopted in • New Zealand began the safety audit process in 1992 • From 1993, safety audit was mandatory in 20 percent sample of State highway projects • A comprehensive road safety audit policy has been prepared • The World Bank has begun to show an interest in the safety audit subject in 1992

  11. Application of road safety audit • Road safety audit may be carried out at any or all following stages • Stage 1: Feasibility • A safety audit can influence • the scope of a project • route choice • selection of design standards • impact on existing road network • route continuity • provisions of interchanges or intersections • access control • number of lanes • route terminals, stage development, etc

  12. Application of road safety audit (continued) • Stage 2: Draft design • This audit stage is undertaken on completion of a draft plan or a preliminary design. Typical considerations include • Horizontal and vertical alignment • Sightlines • Intersection layouts • Lane and shoulder width • Super elevation • Overtaking lanes • Provisions for parked and stationary vehicles • Provisions for bicyclists and pedestrians • Effects of departures from standards and guidelines • Safety during construction, etc

  13. Application of road safety audit (continued) • Stage 3: Detailed design • This stage is on completion of detailed design, normally before preparation of contract documents, considerations include: • Line markings • Signing • Delineation • Lighting • Intersection details • Clearance to roadside objects • Provision to road user groups with special requirements • Temporary traffic management and control during construction

  14. Application of road safety audit (continued) • Drainage • Roadside objects • Landscaping • Batters • Guard fencing, etc • Stage 4: Pre-opening • Prior to opening of the road to traffic • The audit would involve driving, riding and walking through the project to check the adequacy for the needs of all road users • Involve night-time inspection • Inspection of both wet and dry conditions

  15. Application of road safety audit (continued) • It would consider similar issues raised in stage 2 and 3, but with the view of assessing their adequacy as actually constructed • Taking specific note of variations that might have occurred from the plans in the process of construction • Stage 5: In-service • Systematic examination of sections of the existing road network to assess the adequacy of the road, intersection, roadside, etc from an explicit safety viewpoint • This can have two applications

  16. Application of road safety audit (continued) • Monitoring a new scheme after it is opened to traffic • i.e. in the weeks and months following the stage 4 audit • Safety audit of an existing road network with a view of identifying safety-related deficiencies • Although all 5 of the above stages can and have been used • In practice the first and last of these stages are less common

  17. Safety audit process • The key requirements are • Management commitment • Auditors are outsiders brought in to find things wrong with their work • Audit process brings specialists advice to the design team • In relation to implementation of the safety management system in the USA, Hall 1993 was concerned about • Other functional units may believe that the accomplishment of their goals are threatened by the infringement of safety management initiatives into their territory • Care should be taken throughout system implementation to maintain an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual respect among affected functional areas

  18. Safety audit process (continued) • An agreed road safety audit process • The process aim to reduce the whole life cost of a scheme • Although there will be cost of audit process, it is worthwhile if offset against the potential for savings elsewhere • The savings may be from • Timely alteration to plans • It is much cheaper to change a detail on a plan than to replace or remove a feature once installed • Subsequent accident prevention • Reduction in the costs resulting from litigation

  19. Safety audit process (continued) • An independent auditor or audit team • There must be a designated procedure for acting upon the audit report • If a specialist team is used, one of three procedures can be followed • Prior agreement to accept safety audit recommendations • Assessment of the audit report by the client • Assessment of the audit report by the designer

  20. Safety audit process (continued) • An agency developing a road safety audit process will need to determine which of these procedures to follow, depending upon its own expertise and the role of safety auditing within a wider institutional framework such as quality management • No matter which procedure is adopted the key factors are as follow • The audit team must include specialist knowledge of road safety engineering • Safety audit findings should be formally documented and reported at each step of the audit process

  21. Safety audit process (continued) • A set of checklists • Use of checklists which show type of issues and problems that can potentially arise at the relevant stage of the project • Checklists are a memory prompt • When using checklists, it is less likely to overlook problems • They can not be a substitute for expertise • One of the main benefits of checklists is that designers can use that to audit themselves before their work gets to the auditor

  22. Safety audit process (continued) • Training and development of expertise • The size of the audit team depends on the size and complexity of the project • British experience says at the feasibility or layout design stage, three-person team would be suitable, Comprising • A road safety specialist with experience in crash investigation and safety engineering principles and practice • A highway design engineer • A person with experience in safety audit, who is able to generate discussion and assist in the procedure

  23. Safety audit process (continued) • Monitoring and evaluation • Process of monitoring and evaluation involves three aspects • Procedures, problem encountered, and effectiveness of the system • Critical appraisal of the checklists and their use • Evaluation of costs and resources by scheme type and stage

  24. Liability • The Australian guidelines include a chapter on legal issues, with following conclusion • No case involving a road safety audit has yet come before a court • The legal implication must be speculative • The predictions are not guesswork, they are based upon well established principles of tort law • Safety audit will create a safer road environment

  25. Liability (continued) • A major objective of litigation is encourage safety, therefore the use of safety audit will be encouraged by the legal system • Roads can be made safe by different methods • Black spot treatment • Periodic inspection • Adoption of higher standards of engineering practice • Greater allocation of funds and road safety audits • It is for highway authorities to decide which mix of these is best for a given project

  26. Audits of existing roads • A formal program of safety audit of existing roads can be an important component of the overall audit process • The aim of this stage of audit is to identify any existing safety deficiency of design, layout, and street furniture which are not consistent with road’s function • There should be consistency of standards • Many items may be related to maintenance of the road, therefore the benefit of the safety audit process is to ensure that these items are placed on the maintenance program

  27. Audit of development projects • An extension of the road safety audit in some local authorities is to require that development proposals be audited, these may include • A new commercial development which will generate traffic on an existing road • A residential development which involves street construction • In a road safety audit context, these would need to be independently audited and a report submitted as part of development application

  28. Audit of development projects (continued) • Audit report of development projects may address • The safety impact of peak period congestion • The generation of pedestrians and bicyclists movements across existing roads • The safe provision of public transportation • Vehicular and pedestrian access to the site

  29. Audit of development projects (continued) • Adequacy of parking provision from a safety viewpoint • Pedestrian-vehicle conflicts on and adjacent to the site • Type and layout of intersections and new road alignments • Speeds within the site • visibility

  30. Effectiveness of road safety audit • Although safety audit is relatively a new technique, evidence is emerging that safety audit is a cost-effective safety measure • A formal requirement that a project be subjected to a safety audit will very likely lead to improved safety • UK experience suggests that for individual schemes perhaps one-third of crashes have the potential for removal by safety audit • It should be noted that the resources need to be devoted to safety audit are in fact quite small

  31. Effectiveness of road safety audit (continued) • UK experience suggests that one safety auditor is required to cover an area experiencing 1000 casualty crashes per year • Australian and New Zealand experience suggest that safety audit adds 4% to road design costs without consideration of whole life savings from safety audit • There have been some attempt to quantify the benefits of safety audit • One highway authority in Scotland, 1991 has estimated that one-third of future accidents at road improvements are preventable by audit, and that a one percent accident saving per year worth $1.5 million at resource of $100,000, a benefit:cost ratio of 15:1

  32. Benefits of road safety audit • Austroads, 1994 summarizes the benefits of road safety audit • The possibility of crashes on the road network can be reduced • The severity of crashes can be reduces • Road safety is given greater prominence in the mind of road designers and traffic engineers • The need for costly remedial work is reduced • The total cost of the project to the community is reduced