Within the industry there are a various types of road safety based studies, all with different aims and objectives, depending on the scheme in question. Therefore it is important to distinguish exactly what is meant by these different studies, in order to avoid any confusion or ambiguity. The first being a Road Safety Risk Assessment.
Formal risk assessment, whilst comparatively common in many professional disciples, has been relatively uncommon in road safety work.
A true risk assessment involves the identification of hazards, who is at risk from the hazard, and an evaluation of the risk in terms of how serious the consequences might be if the hazard is realised, together with how often that might happen.
Collision studies use historical data to define road safety problems on the existing road network, and Road Safety Audit uses this experience to identify hazards within improvement proposals, without necessarily formally evaluating the level of risk.
There are many situations on the existing network where road safety practitioners can not reference collision data because it does not exist. This often occurs where the proposal is for an activity to change, as opposed to a scheme change.
In these cases risk assessments are carried out.
A Road Safety Assessment, sometimes known as a Road Safety Appraisal, is an independent comparative assessment of the road safety implications of different scheme options, or a comparative assessment of risks to different road users within one design option. Road Safety Assessments require, as their base, some understanding and application of risk assessment techniques.
This comparative assessment does provide an opportunity to assess the safety implications of fundamental design principles. The opportunity to make comparative assessments makes Road Safety Assessments an ideal tool for use within the early stages of design.
For more information on Safety Assessments please click here