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Lecture 11: Road Safety Audit

TR 320 Highway Geometric Design

(A Two Unit Course)

Objective of the Lecture

Lecturer: To introduce the concept and practice of road safety audit The learner should be able to: Define RSA, State the benefits of RSA, Outline the procedure and carry out road safety audit for a road project using appropriate checklists
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1) Background: Traditional Identification of Hazardous Locations

The process is also known as black-spot identification and treatment Steps of the process 1. Data collection: Accident, Traffic volume, etc 2. Analysis - Identification HRL (ranked accident clusters)

3) Diagnosis contributing factors subject to correction 4) Priority ranking value for money 5) Implementation 6) Evaluation

See: TRL Towards Safer Roads (1991) Chapter 6

TR 320 Lecture 11: Road Safety Audit

Common practice and caution

Black spots then routes then localities (areawide treatment) A HRL is identified in relationship with a reference population Treatment of one HRL may simply result in migration to next/nearby location e.g. treatment of intersection or a sharp curve

Disadvantages of the approach

Based on accident reduction through implementation of remedial measures at sites/locations with high frequency of accidents. Before treatment three to four years observation after opening to traffic is necessary. Loss of life and property is therefore inevitable! Costs of treatment/modifying the facility.

2. Road Safety Audit - Overview

DEFINITION: Austroads defines RSA as A formal examination of an existing or future road or traffic project or any project which interacts with road users, in which an independent, qualified examiner looks at the projects accident potential and safety performance. The essential elements are that bit is:

A formal process and not an informal check, An independent process, Carried out by someone with appropriate experience and training, and Restricted to road safety issues.

RSA Objectives
To identify potential road safety problems for road users and others affected by the road/traffic project To ensure that measures to eliminate or reduce the problems are considered.

RSA aims/benefits/advantages
To minimize risk of road accidents on the road project or nearby network. Minimize the need for remedial work after construction. Reduce the whole life costs of the project. Increase the awareness of safer roads design practices by professional involved in the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of roads.

Two outcomes of RSA

Remove accident producing elements e.g. inappropriate intersection layouts/types at the planning or design stage. Mitigating the effects of remaining/existing problems by deploying safety features like skid resistance surfaces, fragile poles for road furniture, intense delineation, etc.

3. At what project stage is RSA Applicable?

1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Feasibility Route location Preliminary design Detailed design Pre-opening Existing roads

4. What is the Focus of RSA at each Project Stage?

1) Feasibility: RSA can influence
Project scope Route choice Selection of design standard Impact on existing road network Provision of intersections/interchanges Access control Number of lanes

2) Preliminary Design
Alignment Intersection layout and sight lines Lane and shoulder width Cross fall and superelevation Departure from standards Provision for NMT Provision for parked/broken down vehicles Safety during construction

3) Detailed design - Undertaken at the end of detailed design before the preparation of tender documents:
Application of Road Furniture: TCD, Road lighting, guard fencing Intersection details Clearance to roadside objects Needs of All road users (disabled, NMT, Heavy trucks, school children) TM during construction Landscaping

4) Pre-opening Immediately before opening to traffic and involves driving and walking through the new road
Check that the safety features for all road users are adequate May involve both day and night time inspection, wet and dry conditions Check that the safety features specified were actually constructed and are adequate. Were any variations carried out and are they OK?

5) Existing Roads Systematic Examination of Existing roads

Check adequacy of the Road, its furniture and the roadside from an explicit road safety point of view. May be applied after a road subject to RSA is opened to traffic for some time or to any existing road not having to wait for clear HRL identification but responding perhaps to near misses or road user complaint

5. The RSA Process

Key elements:
Management Commitment Agreed RSA Process An independent Auditor/Audit Team A set of checklists Training and development of expertise Monitoring and Evaluation

5.1 Commitment
Should be seen as part of organisations commitment to total quality management process. In Tanzania it is Required by the Roads Act 2007

5.2 The Process / Organisation

Designated procedure for acting on the RSA recommendations Appoint independent RSA team with specialist Road Safety engineering knowledge Formal documenting and reporting of the RSA findings for each stage The RSA team should give reasons for each recommendation

Designer rejecting audit advice should give reason Provision for arbitration should be made Awareness of possible litigation if there are subsequent failure

RSA Steps

The steps
Initiate the audit

Responsibility of:
Client (Project manager)

Provide information


Study the plans - visit the site

Audit Team

Commencement meeting

Client and Designer and Audit Team

Undertake the audit

Audit Team

Write the audit report

Audit Team

Completion meeting

Client and Designer and Audit Team

Decide on response


Final Audit Record


TR 320 Lecture 11: Road Safety Audit

Implement changes

Client and Designer


5.3 RSA Checklists

RSA expected to use checklists/prompts List provide a set of potential issues and problems that can arise at each project stage Examples can be found in IHT 1990 guidelines and Austroads 1994 RSA Manual Also PC based checklists are available

Helps not to overlook a problem Those undertaking the audit must have knowledge and expertise! The checklists do not substitute for this. Table 15.1 offers a summary of road safety engineering Covers inspection of drawings and site visits.

The RSA Report See format in the guidelines

Checklist for audit reports Introduction details of: who requested the audit names of persons in the audit team drawings and documents submitted constraints, e.g., no signing plans available when the audit was done date and time of site visits dates of meetings the technical terms used in the report Safety concerns regarding general aspects of the design such as design speed, cross-section, superelevation, speed management, signing, etc. Safety concerns regarding features at specific locations, such as an awkward bend, or a dangerous junction. Concluding section The audit team leader should sign and date the report.
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5.4 Training and Development of Expertise

Accident investigation Expertise in road safety engineering principles and practice Knowledge of Highway design and experience Experience in RSA procedure raise discussion on pertinent issues

5.5 Monitoring and Evaluation

Aim is to Provides inputs for effectiveness and Efficiency: Effectiveness of the system (procedures and problems encountered) Critical appraisal of the checklists and their use Evaluation of resources by type of scheme and stage

5.6 Liability
Legal issues.
What will happen if a safety feature recommended by the RSA was not implemented and latter accidents due to the omission occur?

6.0 Last words

Costs for RSA have been shown to be far less compared to traditional HRL treatments. RSA have additional benefit of raising awareness and knowledge of safety among all involved in development of road projects. RSA should be practiced by all road authorities