Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180-199)|
WEDNESDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2002
180. How important are these bids to the success
of the various initiatives that you have embarked upon? What happens
when the bidding stops?
(Dr Thompson) Certain funds are available to highway
authorities that are achieved through competitive bidding processes.
The homes zone is an example of that. There are funding schemes
that have been made available to highway authorities through the
local transport plan settlements. In Nottingham we are very grateful
to the Government for the increased spending that has occurred
through that process. In the past three years, when the city took
over unitary authority status, we had a local safety scheme budget
of £286,000 per annum. The current settlement for Nottingham
in the coming financial year is £1.2 million. On top of that
about £375,000 will be spent on safer routes to schools and
on top of that there are the bids that you have mentioned.
181. Is there any empirical evidence to show
that the safer route to school scheme reduces the number of casualties
or does it simply reduce the congestion? In evaluating the scheme
are you aware that it reduces collision accidents with children,
or does it simply reduce the amount of congestion?
(Mr Shortland) We have some empirical evidence to
that effect. Schemes that we have introduced in Northamptonshire
have reduced road casualties.
182. My first question is what have you done
with residents' cars in areas where you have introduced either
traffic calming or home zones? Inevitably, such schemes mean that
in certain areas, such as those with Victorian terraces, you displace
residents' cars. My second question is to ask whether you have
incorporated within your traffic calming schemes and home zones
any kind of enforcement like cameras? How do you get round the
problem of the boy-racers weaving around cushions?
(Mr Radford) Perhaps we are fortunate with the housing
in areas where we have carried out traffic calming in that we
have not had too many problems with residential parking. With
regard to the abuse of the calmed areas, we are experimenting
with cameras that photograph your number plate when you enter
a road and when you leave it. We are using that to enforce a 20
miles per hour restriction in some areas.
183. To follow up on the cost issue, you mentioned
a 50 per cent reduction in casualties through your traffic calming
measures. To what extent is the health authority monitoring that
in terms of the cost of visits to the A&E department in a
hospital? Are such figures decreasing?
(Dr Thompson) Currently there is no monitoring taking
place of that process within the area health authority within
Nottingham. We monitor it in terms of the casualty savings that
are achieved by introducing these schemes. Earlier someone asked
about the economic value of introducing that type of scheme. All
the schemes are yielding an economic rate of return of more than
100 per cent.
184. That is in your terms. The health authority
is not monitoring it?
(Dr Thompson) Not in our area.
(Mr Shortland) In Northamptonshire we are carrying
out some monitoring. Recently, I received the figures for A &
E at a certain hospital and they have shown a 15 per cent reduction
over the past year.
185. What does that represent in their financial
(Mr Shortland) In financial terms it does not mean
much to them because the number of admissions through the A &
E department are taken up by people going there for other reasons.
They still provide the same emergency health service.
186. If people do not get hurt on the road they
are determined to get hurt in some other way.
(Mr Shortland) It may mean that one may have a two-hour
wait in A & E rather than a four-hour wait.
187. That is important. Mr Radford, you threw
out the figure of £1 million as being the cost of a fatal
casualty. To what extent is that a health figure or a transport
(Mr Radford) It is a combination. It is a nominal
figure that local authorities use; it is a national figure produced
by the department that local authorities use to try to estimate
the cost of preventing road accidents. It is made up of a number
of things, including pain and suffering, which are difficult to
quantify, emergency services' costs and a component for the ambulance
service. I do not have an exact figure, but there is a breakdown
available from the department as Highways Economic Note No. 1.
188. What part do pedestrians play in this?
Many accidents are labelled as "pedestrian at fault".
(Mr Radford) Yes, working in road safety, that is
one of the things that has struck me for a long while. When the
motor car was first invented, it was considered so dangerous to
pedestrians that someone had to run in front of it with a red
flag and it was restricted to four miles per hour. We have almost
gone in the opposite direction now. Pedestrians are expected to
keep out of the way of a vehicle and if a pedestrian gets in the
way of a vehicle it is the pedestrian's fault. My feeling is that
if drivers are using their cars in areas where pedestrians are
present they should be more responsible and they should be more
prepared to stop, which means driving at a lower speed. That is
what plans for traffic calming in urban areas and speed management
is all about.
189. Is there any evidence that a focus on traffic
calming makes pedestrians more careful as well?
(Mr Radford) I do not know that there is, no. It simply
allows more interaction between the pedestrian and the driver
because it reduces the driver's speed to a scale where pedestrians
can interact with the driver of the vehicle.
190. In regard to Nottingham or Northamptonshire,
we have talked about speed bumps and humps. Why is it necessary
to supplement those measures with cameras as well. Why are the
engineering works not sufficient in themselves?
(Dr Thompson) We do not put cameras on the same routes
as traffic calming. Traffic calming measures are used in residential
areas and the enforcement cameras are used on the routes where
the traffic calming measures are not appropriate.
191. Is that the same in each of your authorities?
(Mr Shortland) I was interested to hear David say
that they are enforcing a 20 miles per hour zone with cameras.
None of our enforcement takes place in traffic calming areas,
192. Following the point that has just been
made, what lessons can be learned from your experience in Nottinghamshire
with safety camera schemes?
(Dr Thompson) As you are aware, Nottingham is one
of the eight pilots that was involved in testing the process of
"netting off". As a result of the experiences in Nottingham
and in the other seven pilot areasone is here in the shape
of Jonwe have clearly demonstrated an acceptability of
the process within the public's eyes. But more importantly we
have demonstrated that it works in terms of casualty savings.
The benefits of this process rolled out nationally will be one
of the most significant improvements from a road-safety point
of view that has ever been introduced.
(Mr Shortland) I would certainly agree with that.
We have achieved casualty savings of 67 per cent where fixed cameras
have been introduced. We have achieved a 29 per cent casualty
reduction across the whole county through the use of mobile cameras
and we are achieving a 500 per cent rate of return on that money
193. Can you tie that to any particular issue
that would highlight some of the successes?
(Mr Shortland) The fact that the casualty figures
in Northamptonshire are now 29 per cent below the Government's
baseline for 1994 to 1998 and that that reduction has coincided
with the introduction of cameras speaks for itself. It is making
a massive difference.
194. You put it all down to speed cameras?
(Mr Shortland) Not all of it. But we have never had
falls of this order before and we have not had cameras before.
There is certainly a correlation between the two.
195. What about Tuxford on the A1 where there
is a 50 miles per hour limit?
(Dr Thompson) That is not Nottingham. That is Nottinghamshire
and I represent Nottingham City.
196. What about Mr Shortland?
(Mr Shortland) I represent Northamptonshire.
197. On the A1 there is a 50 miles per hour
scheme with four cameras, two on either side of the road. But
no one knows about that?
(Dr Thompson) I do not think any of us can comment
on that because it is not in our area of responsibility.
198. Whose area would it be?
(Dr Thompson) From the camera experiences that we
have had, we could say that casualty savings are evident in all
of the areas where cameras have been implemented. The information
that I have presentedI believe that Jon has done the sameshows
the kind of savings that there are from introducing digital cameras.
That evidence is available.
199. Do you think that those savings will continue
into the future, or are they one-off savings? You have had a lot
of publicity for them. Do you think that they have had more impact
than if they had been rolled out nationally or if you were doing
it again in five years' time?
(Mr Shortland) I would expect it to level off and
to reach a plateau where we have affected the speed-related accidents
and that it would get to a level where we cannot affect those
any more. Certainly the second year's decrease under the camera
project was more than the first year's decrease. So the tailing
off certainly has not started yet.