Safety Management of Roads
Road infrastructure, as the third pillar of road safety, is a contributing factor in one out of three fatal accidents and managing its safety offers a wide scope for improvement.
In that respect, the trans-European road network is of paramount importance in supporting European integration and cohesion as well as ensuring a high level of well-being. In particular, a high level of safety should be guaranteed.
Directive 2008/96/EC of 19 November 2008 introduces a comprehensive system of road infrastructure safety management. It addresses projects for the construction of new road infrastructure or substantial modifications to the existing network which affects the traffic flow within the trans-European road network.
The directive focuses on the following four procedures:
- Road safety impact assessment: a strategic comparative analysis of the impact of a new road or a substantial modification to the existing network on the safety performance of the road network, at the initial planning stage before the infrastructure project is approved. The purpose is to demonstrate, on a strategic level, the implications on road safety of different planning alternatives of an infrastructure project and they should play an important role when routes are being selected.
- road safety audit: an independent detailed systematic and technical safety check relating to the design characteristics of a road infrastructure project and covering all stages from planning to early operation) as to identify, in a detailed way, unsafe features of a road infrastructure project.
- ranking of high accident concentration sections: a method to identify, analyse and rank sections of the road network which have been in operation for more than three years and upon which a large number of fatal accidents in proportion to the traffic flow have occurred; and network safety ranking : a method for identifying, analysing and classifying parts of the existing road network according to their potential for safety development and accident cost savings; the purpose is to target investments to the road sections with the highest accident concentration and/or the highest accident reduction potential,
- Safety inspections: an ordinary periodical verification of the characteristics and defects that require maintenance work for reasons of safety as a preventive tool.
Thus, safety must be integrated in all phases of planning, design and operation of road infrastructure. It must be regarded in its own right and separately from economic and environmental analysis.
Member States may also apply the provisions of the directive to national road transport infrastructure, not included in the trans-European road network, that was constructed using Community funding in whole or in part.The Directive does not provide for a unique method
Several Member States already possess well functioning road infrastructure safety management systems.
These countries should continue using their existing methods, in so far as they are consistent with the aims of
Member States wishing to create their own safety management system could use the tools provided by the research project Ripcord-Iserest (FP6).
Member States shall:
- bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by 19 December 2010.
- ensure that guidelines (measures which lay down the steps to be followed and the elements to be considered in applying the safety procedures), if they do not already exist, are adopted by 19 December 2011.
- ensure that, if they do not already exist, training curricula for road safety auditors are adopted by 19 December 2011.
Member States’ guidelines will be made available on a public website.
In order to improve the safety of roads within the European Union that are not part of the trans-European road network, the Commission shall establish a coherent system for the exchange of best practices between the Member States, covering, inter alia, existing road infrastructure safety projects and proven road safety technology.
The Commission shall facilitate and structure the exchange of knowledge and best practices between Member States, making use of the experience gained in existing relevant international forums, with a view to achieving continuous improvement of safety management practices concerning road infrastructures in the European Union.
More about the preparatory work.