Research & reports

Title: Cutting the costs of dangerous roads (report)

Organisation: Road Safety Foundation
Date uploaded: 6th December 2017
Date published/launched: November 2017

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The UK’s ‘A’ road network needs an immediate injection of £200m to tackle high risk road sections, this report concludes.

The Road Safety Foundation’s annual tracking report says 6,111km of road - across more than 550 sections - poses an ‘unacceptably high’ level of risk.

The report says the condition of these roads will need to be addressed by the Government’s Safer Roads Fund ‘in the drive to bring road deaths towards zero’.

The report praises the Safer Roads Fund which was introduced last year, describing it as an ‘innovative allocation of funds to tackle a portfolio of the most dangerous roads in England’.

The report was published alongside a new Road Crash Index, which shows the number of fatal and serious crashes and cost of dealing with road crashes in every county in England, Scotland and Wales. The index also includes a league table based on safety improvement performance and maps showing each county’s highest risk and most improved roads.

The report names the A537 between Macclesfield and Buxton, known as the Cat and Fiddle, as Great Britain’s highest risk road. The most improved road is the A4151 in Gloucestershire from Nailbridge to the A48.

The report also finds that single carriageway ‘A’ roads pose seven times the risk of motorways and nearly three times the risk of dual carriageway ‘A’ roads. ‘High risk’ single carriageway roads are described as 67 times more risky than low risk single carriageways.

With regard to the English strategic road network (SRN) managed by Highways England, the report shows that 90% of motorway travel and 23% of dual carriageway travel is now on ‘low risk sections’. However, only 1% of travel on single carriageways is on low risk sections, while 8% is on medium-high risk sections.

19% of local authority roads by length are described as high risk or medium-high risk and as having unacceptably high levels of risk. These unacceptably high risk roads carry 13% of local authority traffic.

The report also identifies ‘changing trends’ with regard to vulnerable road users. While this year’s report shows two of the top 10 most dangerous roads with more than 50% of the crashes involving motorcyclists, five of the roads in this table now have more than 50% of crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists.

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