Ultimate Guide to Road Safety Analysis

Around 1.3 million people die from road accidents each year, with an estimated 20-50 million more people suffering from severe injuries. Countries can lose as much as 3% of their GDP to traffic-related incidents, which can be devastating for developing countries that experience 93% of global traffic-related deaths.

Despite these grave consequences, there are solutions to improving road safety. Accidents can be prevented through accurate road safety analysis.

Let's discuss how road safety analysis plays a significant role in creating safe access to all forms of transportation and mobility.

Products to analyze road safety

What is road safety analysis?

Road safety analysis refers to the thorough examination of roads and general transportation infrastructure using professional analysis tools.

It usually involves a multidisciplinary team with the local governing body and other stakeholders to check for potential safety issues. They also seek to identify key areas for improvement.

The goal of road safety analysis is to prevent accidents by making sure traffic infrastructure is designed and optimized for safety and efficiency.

Why is road safety important?

  • It reduces the risk to life. Millions of people sustain severe or fatal injuries each year in preventable road incidents. By assessing risks, creating safe roads, and planning better infrastructure, road users can move safely and efficiently without fear of danger.

  • It eases financial and emotional burdens. Safe roads spare people from the financial and emotional trauma of dealing with death and injury. It also relieves the stress on the healthcare industry.

  • It reduces repair costs. Fewer accidents mean lower repair costs to damaged roads, highways and other transportation infrastructure.

  • It improves efficiency. Safe and well-designed traffic systems promote efficient mobility. They reduce congestion, prevent accidents, and improve traffic flow.

  • It improves social development. Aside from motorists, road safety also considers the welfare of other users like pedestrians, cyclists, older drivers, and inexperienced drivers. By keeping people safe, they pave the way for stronger communities.

  • It promotes public health. By improving mobility and giving safe access to pedestrians and cyclists, road safety promotes healthier lifestyles and decreases excess pollutants emitted from traffic congestion.

 

How can we make roads safer?

Infrastructure analysis

Infrastructure plays a big role in road safety, as it dictates how we move, affects how we design our urban and rural spaces and directly impacts accessibility. It also affects road conditions, which is the single most lethal factor in road incidents.

Poorly designed traffic frameworks can cause collisions or prompt humans to make fatal mistakes. Infrastructure must be designed, built, and optimized with quality and efficiency in mind.

Through infrastructure analysis, stakeholders can use historical and real-time data to model efficient and reliable infrastructure systems.

Infrastructure analysis further helps build future-proof structures that can accommodate other types of mobility.

Hotspot identification

Hotspot Prediction is an application that uses accident analysis to identify "hotspots'' or accident-prone areas. Based on historical data, it can predict where collisions are likely to happen, allowing transportation planners to create proactive solutions and prevent serious injuries or even death.

Identifying hotspots can help stakeholders to: Design better roads; Reduce confusing road signs and signals that may lead to human error; Implement road safety analysis measures like putting up guard rails, improving visibility, and managing traffic; and Educate road users to take extra caution when traveling through hotspots.

Planning for different mobility

Traditional modes of transport are now being challenged by ride-sharing apps, various e-vehicles, and the high demand for more eco-friendly transportation alternatives. To promote safer roads, these modes of mobility must be accounted for.

This could include expanding bike lanes and cycling routes, incorporating charging stations, analyzing the location of public transport stations, and regulating the fleet of transportation network companies.

However, these developments can be costly. To mitigate risks and reduce costs, stakeholders can plan using innovative traffic modeling and simulation tools to compare different scenarios and assess their options before investing in developments.

Virtually simulating roads

Virtual road simulations allow local government units and private collaborators to create virtual scenarios, taking into account real-life factors like pedestrians, cyclists, public transport, private vehicles, logistics services, and more.

This technology allows users to analyze traffic flow and predict areas of congestion.

Through these virtual simulations, stakeholders and agencies can design better roads and intersections, improve traffic flow, and prevent accidents.

Cooperation between public and private entities

Road safety analysis shouldn't be limited to road designers and engineers. Public agencies must cooperate with private entities to create safe roads for everyone.

The government, for instance, must allocate an adequate budget for infrastructure improvement. Leaders should also have the political will to implement changes.

On the other hand, private entities can help maintain these infrastructures. They can also support further research, funding, and education.

Share research and best practices

Everyone should have access to safe roads. To achieve this, the sharing of information and collaboration is key.

Areas that have implemented effective road safety strategies should share their best practices, especially with rapidly developing cities that may be experiencing similar issues.

Initiatives like the Vision Zero Plan should be shared and implemented.

 

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What industries benefit from road safety analysis?

 

Public health

  • Fewer deaths and injuries from accidents
  • Healthier lifestyles and better air quality

 

Government transportation and road construction agencies

  • Better budget allocation for public work projects
  • Informed decisions on projects to invest in
  • Sustainable and accessible public spaces for all users

 

Transportation networks

  • Fleet management
  • Optimized ride-sharing and rental services

 

Public transport

  • Secure, efficient, and reliable public transport systems
  • Predictable time tables and schedules

 

Traffic management

  • Reduced congestion
  • Better routes and mobility options for road users
  • Accident prediction and prevention

 

Logistics

  • Improved delivery times
  • Decreased delays

What is a Vision Zero plan?

Vision Zero is a road safety initiative that aims to eliminate traffic-related deaths and injuries. Unlike traditional road safety campaigns that simply accept road accidents as being inevitable, Vision Zero believes these fatalities are avoidable by having preventive measures in place. These measures include:

  • Recognizing that human error should be considered in creating safe roads
  • Creating a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to road safety
  • Using data to assess situations and come up with feasible solutions

After proving its effectiveness in several European cities, other countries have followed suit. Today, cities around the world have adopted the Vision Zero initiative to make roads safer for their inhabitants.

Examples of how to improve road safety

City of Krakow optimizes traffic flow, reduces travel times

Better mobility promotes safe roads. Krakow was able to optimize 19 km of road and reduce travel time for public and private transport by 8-10%.

City of Krakow
Transportation planners in Copenhagen apply PTV Vissim to support their bicycle-friendly metropolis.

To safely expand its bike lanes and create safe roads for 650,000 cyclists, the city of Copenhagen used traffic simulation technology in PTV Vissim.

Copenhagen
Taichung optimizes traffic flow and reduces travel times

Using PTV Optima, the city of Taichung was able to improve existing infrastructure, detect incidents, and provide alternative routes to decrease congestion.

City of Taichung

FAQs about road safety analysis

What is road safety and why is it important?

Road safety refers to the methods and strategies used to protect people from serious injuries or fatalities.

It's important because it reduces risk to life, decreases infrastructure repair costs, helps promote mobility, and fosters social development among many other reasons. These measures are especially beneficial to rapidly developing countries that struggle with congestion and traffic incidents.

What causes road accidents?

Road accidents are caused by various factors. This includes human error, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, reckless driving practices, and distracted driving cause road accidents. Other causes include: Bad road conditions such as poorly constructed roads, potholes, and blind curves; Confusing traffic signs and signals can prompt drivers to cause errors that lead to accidents; Poor visibility from rain, fog, or bad road lighting.

How can we improve traffic safety?

Government agencies and private stakeholders can create safer roads by planning and optimizing roads for traffic. By using modeling tools, traffic planners can decrease congestion by improving traffic flow, improve road safety by testing the impact of different traffic system alternatives, and future-proofing traffic infrastructure.

Which ways can governments reduce road accidents?

Governments can reduce road accidents by investing in regular road safety analysis, auditing, and monitoring. Moreover, by investing in tools that help transportation planners virtually optimize traffic flow, governments can reduce road accidents in a more cost-effective way. Once roads are virtually optimized, governments can improve road conditions by investing in infrastructure.

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