Creating a safer environment

Road Safety Engineering aims to create a safer environment for all road users and to help reduce the severity and number of casualties that result from collisions.

PAF, on behalf of Highway Authorities, Consultancies and Developers conduct in-depth studies, engineering assessments and collision analysis at sites where there is a poor road safety problem. Our engineers, adopting the safe system approach, will recommend suitable engineering remedial measures to address the problems identified.

The Safe System is being adopted by an increasing number of countries and forms the basis for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. It is based on well-established safety principles; known tolerance of the human body to crash forces; speed thresholds for managing crash impact energies to survivable levels and the capacities of vehicles and forgiving infrastructure to reduce crash impact energy transfers to humans.

Creating a safe system depends heavily on understanding and implementing these guiding principles:

  1. The limits of human performance: we all make mistakes and we all need to acknowledge the limits of our capabilities.
  2. The physical limits of human tolerance to violent forces: we are physically vulnerable when involved in a traffic crash.
  3. Shared responsibility: this means all of us take an individual and shared role in road safety.
  4. A forgiving road system: so that when crashes do happen, deaths can be avoided, and injuries minimised.

A vital part of road safety

Studies are an integral and vital part of road safety engineering. A variety of studies are carried out by PAF to enable our engineers and client to fully understand the problems and issues relating to the location, route or area. Such studies include:

Scheme Identification Studies: Identifies individual locations, routes or areas where there is potential to improve the highway and associated features to benefit road safety, congestion or crime and disorder issues for all road users. A Scheme Identification Study is a detailed document which will involve gathering and analysing considerable information such as collision data, police collision reports, traffic and turning counts, speed surveys, vulnerable road users requirements, site observations, assessment of existing highway geometry and infrastructure, proposed development, initial cost benefit analysis, possible environmental assessment and consultation with stakeholders and residents.

PAF have considerable experience in the production of Scheme Identification Studies and have conducted studies for Lancashire County Council and Highways England resulting in a range of low-cost remedial measures to extensive civil engineering schemes being designed and implemented.

Conflict Studies: Along with the collision records these studies are a good tool to help our engineers begin to identify and understand the issues being experienced at site. They also help to choose the most appropriate form of remedial measure.

Studies will involve different surveillance methods, over different time periods. Trained observers will identify conflicts or near miss situations where road users are put at risk. The number of conflicts is recorded and graded according to the scale of severity.

Reducing the number of road collisions and casualties

The purpose of a Safety Scheme is to investigate and provide recommendations and strategies to reduce the number of road collisions and casualties. However, it may also have other benefits like improving the road environment or providing better integration between various modes of transport.

Having selected an appropriate remedial measure or package of measures the next stage is the detailed design and implementation of those proposals. A Safety Scheme may involve something simple like adding a new sign or road marking, or more complex remedial measures such as changing the layout or geometry of the road. Works can be implemented at single sites, such as a junction improvement scheme, along routes such as a revised speed limit or over an area such as a traffic calming scheme in a residential area.

PAF have been responsible for the conceptual design of a significant number of successful safety schemes both in the urban and rural environment and on all classes of road hierarchy.

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