Across the United Kingdom, road safety auditors carry out many road safety audits (RSA) on various schemes ranging from new commercial developments, new residential schemes through to checking the safety of railway level crossings. In their travels across the country, it is noticed that it is often the same issues that crop up time and time again. Therefore, it is highly appropriate to highlight some of these common highway safety ailments in order to create greater awareness of these reoccurring safety issues amongst those professionals in the construction sector.
The UK auditors have identified 10 Common Road Safety Problems:
- Poorly sited pedestrian crossings
- Poorly designed or non-existent tactile paving at pedestrian crossings
- Obscured signage (eg. by trees or other signs)
- Poorly sited street furniture such as bollards
- Lack of guard railing
- Inadequate road signage
- Lack of road markings
- Lack of anti-skid
- Poorly sighted traffic signal heads
- Lack of dropped kerbs for pedestrians and wheelchair users
Of course there are many other issues, but these are the main ones. It is worth remembering, that the aim of the road safety audit is to check that the scheme design has thoroughly dealt with all the safety issues and not just the main ones. By being thorough, it is possible to minimise the number of accidents as well as the severity of those accidents on public highways. It is down to the scheme designer and client to respond appropriately to the audit recommendations. However, the highway safety auditor must provide an assessment of the risk involved, and the reasoning why a recommendation is made. By doing this the designer will have a clear and objective view of the key issues and problems that have been raised in the audit.
At the time of the audit, it is highly valuable for the auditor to have a good understanding of the scheme objectives. It is normal for all stakeholders to expect that the auditor is bringing the latest knowledge and understanding of safety issues to the highway development project.If they don’t then, situations such as poor streetscape quality, pedestrian amenity and security and give rise to reduced safety levels. These situations can arise if the road safety audit team have not kept up to date with the latest research and methods regarding road safety or if the team have not fully grasped the objectives of the development scheme.These days many client organisations demand that highway safety auditors keep fully up to date by maintaining a program of continuing professional development and attending appropriate seminars.