SWOV Catalogus


Documentation of road safety deficits in German urban road design.
20121679 s ST (In: 20121679 ST [electronic version only])
Gerlach, J.
In: Towards future traffic safety - tendencies in Traffic Safety Research based on 20 years of experience : papers and presentations presented at the 20th workshop of the International Cooperation on Theories and Concepts in Traffic Safety ICTCT, Valencia, Spain, October 25-26, 2007, Pp.

Samenvatting Audits were analysed which were made at the first training to the Road Safety Auditor for urban roads and cross-town links at the University of Wuppertal. The audits were evaluated with regard to the frequency of ascertained safety deficiencies in the planning. In 25 road dsign plans 625 deficiencies have been found. 65 % of the safety deficiencies are violations of the road guidelines. Serious consequences could not be excluded at 54 % of the deficiencies. Urban planning is worthy to be improved and in principle should come under scrutiny of a safety audit. With the "Empfehlungen für das Sicherheitsaudit von Straßen (ESAS)” (recommendations for the road safety audit) [1] published by the FGSV (research company for traffic and transport in Germany) the road safety audit was also introduced in Germany. The Federal Ministry of transport, building and urban affairs recommends with the "Allgemeines Rundschreiben Straßenbau Nr. 18/2002” (general circular road construction no. 18/2002) [2] to use at all planning of rural roads the ESAS. The systematic determination of road safety deficits in planning shall contribute as a component of a quality management to design roads as safe as possible. The application of the ESAS can reduce accident blackspots and costs for the redesigning of roads. The road safety auditor is an equivalent to the inspecting structural engineer, how it is known in the constructive engineering in Germany. Road safety auditors must attain an additional qualification besides a basic qualification [1]. The additional qualification can be a specialised training course to become a road safety auditor. Since 2002 the first road safety auditors are trained for rural roads at the Bauhaus University of Weimar. The contents of the training course are tailored especially to the rural roads and cross-town links. In the context of the research project “Qualifizierung von Mitarbeitern kommunaler Straßenbauverwaltungen zu Auditoren für das Sicherheitsaudit für Innerortsstraßen” (Training municipal employees to road safety auditors of urban roads and cross-town links) [3] the Institute for Road Traffic Planning and Engineering of the University of Wuppertal concepts and develops contents for the training of the auditors for urban roads and cross-town links. It was supported by BSV Consulting for Urban and Transport Planning in Aachen and the German Insurance Association GDV. A curriculum was developed that takes into account especially the interests of the safety audit of urban roads. Another purpose of the training was that audits should be announced in the municipal administrations. Several safety deficits were uncovered in all plans. All audits were evaluated and processed that frequent safety deficits of urban road designs could be derived. The analysis of the safety deficits of all audit stages added up to a total of 625 analysed deficits an average of 25 deficits per example. According to this, preliminary and detailed designs regularly include in part grave safety deficits. Causes for this purpose are manifold. In general it has to been mentioned, that the education and training of german planners is of course quite good – the reasons for safety deficits are more to be found in missing coordination between various parts of authorities and in particular when the requirements from several person and institutions concerned reduce the safety. For example there could be the requirement for parking facilities which are expressed by tradespeople and politicians although it hinders the visibility of an intersection. Another reason is that the sensibility of planners concerning safety is not as high as the interest for capacity. Many examples of deficits in plans for urban main and side roads can be presented at the ICTCT Workshop in Valencia. In many projects a not continuous and inconsistent bicyclist routing could be noticed. For bicyclists using routes not regularly, an often changing bicyclist routing is difficult to detect and abstract. This can lead to false use which is in part even deliberately done (such as using the pavement). Other road users do not count on this behaviour so conflicts, perhaps accidents may follow. A further circumstance that is to be mentioned is the frequent use of segregated right turning lanes, although they often are black spots of main roads. Segregated right turning lanes are characterised by accumulations of rear-end collision accidents, to some extent with involved bicyclists and pedestrians. This circumstance is shown in the collusion diagram (1-year) below (Picture 8). Nevertheless segregated right turning lanes are popular to reduce time of waiting at highly frequented junctions (by the account of road safety). Looking at side roads, restrictions for pedestrians and bicyclists often result of lacking or too small safe distance beside parked cars. Too few parking and illegal parked cars restrict the width of footpath additionally, so that people with reduced mobility often can not use the footpath. The main recommendation is to implement the safety audit in all planning stages and for all design aspects. With implementing the safety audit, an improvement of the planning and a reduction of accidents are expected. All participants concerning with safety audits remain of the conviction. The economic profit is high. Detecting failings in planning at an early stage and avoiding rescheduling (or even conversions) later on, microeconomic profits rise above the additional costs. Some cities in Germany have already implemented the safety audit compulsive. Their operating experiences are positive. Topical safety audits are optional, but in the future allocations might depend on the certificate of safety audits. A further, significant step will be the documentation, analysis and publication of experiences with safety audits, especially the publication in urban areas. It is a fact that municipal planning does always include safety deficits. That is why the implementation in Germany is not only sensible but also necessary. All these conclusions can help to improve planning’s concerning road safety and thus to avoid accidents and their consequences. (Author/publisher) This publication may be accessed by Internet users at: http://www.ictct.org/workshop.php?workshop_nr=25
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