Road safety has often been improved by treating specific sites at which there have been accident clusters. Subsequently, accidents are now more likely to be scattered along a route and less focussed on specific locations.
‘Route safety’ is the treating of a route as a whole. This can offer drivers travelling along a route consistency, such that they can know the behaviour expected of them. It may reduce the problems associated with ‘regression to the mean’ since sites at which there is an ‘accident waiting to happen’ may be treated before this occurs.
Route identification should involve consideration of the accident rate on various similar routes over several years. Analysis of previous accidents is key to selecting the package of interventions. Route safety is not restricted to the prevention of accidents; it also allows for some measures intended to reduce the severity of accidents.
This guidance recommends that a route safety approach includes:
• The use of accident rates and thresholds to determine the most risky routes, benchmarking routes against one another
• Evaluation of accident numbers and types over several years
• Linking of safety performance to highway environment
• Consideration of the collision history, e.g. weather, time of day, road surface condition and other contributory factors. exploring more fully the factors contributing to the accidents concerned
• Measurement of proxies such as speed
• Information targeted at specific types of driver and driver behaviour
• Monitoring regimes
• Use of recognised standards on improvement schemes
• Counter-measure evaluation

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