Research & reports

Title: Road Traffic Injury Risk in Disadvantaged Communities: Evaluation of the Neighbourhood Road Safety Initiative

Organisation: Department for Transport
Date uploaded: 18th October 2010
Date published/launched: October 2010

This evaluation has also contributed greatly to understanding factors that describe and explain road safety problems in disadvantaged areas and its impact on mobility and quality of life.

The road casualty rate in England is higher in disadvantaged areas compared with those that are more affluent.

In order to address this casualty rate, the Department for Transport established the Neighbourhood Road Safety Initiative (NRSI) in 2002. 15 Local Authorities (LAs) in England were funded to develop schemes to reduce road casualties in their most disadvantaged areas. These LAs were encouraged to develop innovative partnership approaches to extend the reach of road safety to their most disadvantaged populations and areas.

A team led by the University College London (UCL) evaluated the impacts of the NRSI using a mixed methods approach. The evaluation shows a significant reduction in casualties during the NRSI. The evaluation has also contributed greatly to our understanding of factors that describe and explain road safety problems in disadvantaged areas and its impact on mobility and quality of life.

The main findings were:
There was a statistically significant reduction in casualties in the NRSI areas compared with similar areas nearby, to which the package of education, publicity and engineering measures focused in these areas has contributed.

The NRSI enabled road safety professionals to understand the latent conditions which give rise to the high risk of road traffic injury in disadvantaged areas and how these need to be addressed by different partners working together. This was facilitated by the provision of a dedicated co-ordinator to focus on inequality and to build partnerships.

The relationship between high levels of disadvantage and road traffic injury was found for all ages of pedestrian casualties and not just for the children. Car occupant casualties were also greater in more disadvantaged areas, especially among young adults and adults aged 2559 years.

The analysis of injury data in these areas shows that about a third of children aged 115 years are injured on roads near shops, takeaways and leisure facilities. This links to the results of surveys of 7,000 children in local schools and is where they say they go.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) residents in disadvantaged areas reported high levels of car ownership and increased involvement in collisions, as car occupants and were less likely to wear a seat belt than their White counterparts.

Many parents were dissatisfied with the play and leisure facilities available for their children. The safety of parks and play areas was felt to be threatened by people using drugs and alcohol, and by the litter they left, stray dogs and vandalism of the equipment and fencing. This led to a curtailment of their activities. Parents only reluctantly allowed their children to play in the street, but felt these were unsafe due to the speed and volume of traffic, joyriding, and other illegal and anti-social use of vehicles.

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