Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by the Highways Agency (RTS 155)



  In supporting the Government's Road Safety Strategy, Tomorrow's Roads—Safer for Everyone, the Highways Agency (HA) published Making the Network Safer, which outlines how it intends to manage safety on the Trunk Road network and deliver the 2010 casualty reduction targets set by government for the Trunk Road (TR) network. To accompany this document detailed safety management guidance has been issued to Agency staff and agents.

  This guidance explains the "best practice" principles that are being commended for use on the HA's roads. These principles can be defined in four discrete areas that form an annual cyclic process:

    —  accident data collection and analysis;

    —  identification and prioritisation of problem locations or routes;

    —  design and implementation of a cost-effective programme of safety schemes; and

    —  monitoring of completed schemes and remainder of the network.

  Implementation of this management system is ongoing and an improvement in how the HA manages and reports on its safety work are continually being improved.

  The use of different safety measures, such as reduced speed limits, traffic calming etc to solve problems on the TR network is dependent on the above process establishing need and identifying the most suitable measures or combinations of measures to deliver accident reduction. The design and implementation of the safety schemes on the TR network form part of the Local Network Management Scheme (LMNS) programme, which is a targeted annual programme of works set to contribute to the delivery of the casualty reduction targets along with other key performance targets. This programme each year, on average, results in the completion of around 200 safety schemes.

  Progress on the use of certain types of measures is listed below.



  Traffic calming is the use of specific traffic management measures in order to reduce and control vehicle speeds to a level commensurate with the activities taking place along that road, at the same time, encouraging appropriate driver behaviour in adopting a smooth speed without excessive acceleration or deceleration. Traffic calming measures may be considered at locations identified as giving rise to significant concerns about road safety, vehicle speed, effects of community severance, or improving the environment for people local to the road.

  Traffic calming has largely been used in urban areas on roads with speed limits of 30mph or less. Measures are available however, for higher speed roads, but as speeds increase it becomes less safe to use physical measures and greater reliance is placed on non-physical means. Non-physical measures are likely to result in less significant reductions in speed unless they can be accompanied by strict enforcement of speed limits. The limited availability of police resources for the enforcement of traffic regulations generally means that schemes need to be self-enforcing (speed cameras) to achieve the required speed reductions. Application of traffic calming measures at higher speed roads within the trunk road system, particularly where they pass through rural settlements can therefore still have a role to play and much work has been done by central and local government on developing traffic calming measures for use on rural roads.


  Traffic Calming Interim Guidance Note, IAN 28/00 was prepared in early 2000 by the Highways Agency for use on trunk roads. The document includes information on relevant legislation, reference sources and a procedure for implementation of traffic calming schemes.

  Further research on traffic calming (Assessment of Traffic Calming using a Simulator, Self-Calming Roads and Trunk Road Traffic Calming were carried out in order to update the interim advice to incorporate it in the Design Manual For Roads and Bridges (DMRB Volume 6: Section 3). The preparation of the Advice is now in its final stages (draft submitted to the Technical Project Board, it is anticipated that it will be completed and published in early 2003). The document will provide advice on the use of Traffic Calming measures on trunk roads and will illustrate "good practice" over a comprehensive range of measures. It will not however, be a design guide and designers are advised to refer to appropriate Standards and legislation referenced in the document, together with other guidance issued by DTLR and IHT.

  The introduction of calming schemes on the Trunk Road network is accident data lead, through the process mentioned above, where it is identified that it is the appropriate measure to resolve actual accident problems. A number of calming schemes have been introduced in previous years; at least eight have been completed as part of the 2000-01 LMNS programme.



  To establish the extent and/or absence of NMU crossing provision on the TR network the Agency designed a survey to collect data on the current position and assist in improving accessibility across the network. Instructions were issued by HA in 2000 for maintaining Agents to undertake the work and report back, so that the information can be used to feed into Routes Management Studies and LMNS improvement programmes.


  The crossings survey is now substantially complete and the data is being collated. The next stage will be to co-ordinate Area reviews with Managing Agents and user groups to develop a programme of schemes.



  The Safer Routes to School initiative is a DTLR funded scheme in the main directed towards Local Authorities who are responsible for the schools and delivery of road safety education within their county, district or borough boundaries. Where routes to schools are either alongside or cross trunk roads the HA works in partnership with local authorities to support the SRS initiative.


  HA guidance is about to be issued; school related information has been loaded onto an internal graphical information system (HAGIS). Funding is in place for a further education pilot study to be implemented, but currently there are no new projects being progressed.



  The Road Safety Strategy, Tomorrow's Roads—Safer for Everyone suggests that one of the recommendations that may come out of the Rural Road Hierarchy for Speed Management review would be for 30mph to be the normal speed limit for villages. Indeed the current draft progress report suggests for the Tier 1 roads, which will include all trunk roads, this would be an appropriate speed.

  Imposing reduced speed limits through villages on the trunk road network is, as with other safety measures, data lead and priority driven. If through the safety management process outlined above, schemes are identified where a 30mph limit is seen as the appropriate measure then it be considered and introduced, often as part of a traffic-calming scheme.


  A considerable number of villages on the trunk road network now have lower speed limits, typically 30 or 40mph imposed through the limits of the village. In most cases the limits are supported with village gateways and other calming techniques. These types of schemes have been a feature of the LMNS safety programme for a number of years and will continue to play an important role in future years.

John Smart

Group Manager


27 May 2002

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