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06/12/2006 Conference about Road Safety Measures in Poland (province Lebuskie)

The Polish Road Administration wants to start the Road Safety Audit (RSA) procedure in the near future. During the road safety conference on december the 6, 2006, which took place near the City of Zielona Gora, the upcoming RSA was a main topic of duscussion. Two members of the GRSA  were invited to report about the German audit experiences. They gave a lecture about the German RSA and another about design principles for safer roads.

We wish the Polish colleagues much success with the Road Safety Audit!


30/07/2006 - Reflections about the cost/benefit relation of training courses for Road Safety Audits and Inspections in Developing Countries

Since the World road Congress in Kuala Lumpur 1999, Road Safety Audits have been conducted in more and more countries to avoid design faults that could lead to heavy accidents after the roads are built. Now the PIARC Technical committee for Road safety is comparing the different methods used by  Road Safety Inspections to analyse of safety deficiencies along existing roads. The creation of national guidelines and the training of experts are part of national tarining and education programs and projects. In order bto make financial decisions, road administration need at least a rough estimate of costs and benefits.

Economic Costs of road accidents
Using the 1997 as its basis, the PIARC Road Safety Manual estimates the annual accident costs  Asian countries at 1% of the Gross National Product (GNP). Other sources (World Bank, etc.) estimate today's annual accident costs around 2% of GNP. In 1997, the annual accident costs e.g. only for the Latin and Central American countries were around $18.9 billion

The Effects of Road engineering on improvement of Road Safety.
Various experts estimate that 30% of road accidents in developed countries are caused by unsafe road conditions. The system itself is very complex, and faults in the existing road network may be the reason for road users' mistakes. An intelligent road geometry and equipment may eliminate or compensate for these mistakes (self-explaining roads and forgiving roads). The experience in Eastern Germany after unification shows that in undeveloped road networks the number of heavy accidents can be reduced by more than 50% using low cost measures such as improvement of skid resistance and cross fall, crash barriers and obstacle-free road sides etc..

That's why we may estimates the safety potential of road-engineering measures in most developing countries as a 50% reduction of national accident costs per year!
Natutally, for financial reasons, it is unrealistic to think we can achieve these improvements in a short period of time. It will likely take many years to reach this goal.  But even with small amounts of money, we can cut back on accidents very effectively.  For example, a round about will reduce the accident rate at an intersection by 80%. The PIARC Safety Manual shows that low-cost measures provide for an average annual accident savings of 50%, which means that the reduction of accident costs pay for such measures within two years and actually saves money in the following 10 to 20 years.

We know no other investments with such a high profit!
If we compare an amount for target-oriented training measures with the expected road safety potential of 18.9 billion USD per year, as in our example of Latin America, the cost effectiveness is absolutely evident!