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£1.2bn roads investment could prevent thousands of serious crashes

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More than 8,000 fatal and serious injuries could be prevented over the next 20 years if an investment package of £1.2 billion was made, says the Road Safety Foundation and Ageas.

The funding would improve around 3,000 miles of roads and would also boost the UK’s economic recovery and save society almost £4.4bn over the same period, according to a report published today by the organisation.

Dr Suzy Charman, executive director of the Road Safety Foundation and author of the study, said: “This 20th annual report shows that less than 1% of roads were significantly improved between 2013-2015 and 2016-2018.

“This report identifies an investment package of £1.2bn... with great returns: every £1 invested should benefit society by an average of around £3.60.

“We’ve already demonstrated that infrastructure safety measures can be developed and implemented very quickly, providing jobs and saving lives.

“At a time when we need to boost our economic recovery and protect the NHS, what better way of saving our society an estimated £4.4 billion over the next 20 years. Let’s move forward and save lives by improving these roads.”

The ‘Looking Back – Moving Forward’ document reports that:

  •  60% of all deaths are concentrated on 13% of Britain’s roads
  • There were significant reductions in the number of fatal and serious crashes on 22 routes between 2013-2015 and 2016-2018; the total number of fatal and serious crashes on these 400km of road fell by two-thirds from 251 to 86, with an estimated Net Present Value of £351m over 20 years
  • 765km of 38 persistently higher risk rural routes have been the location of more than 1,400 fatal and serious crashes between 2013 and 2018. The value to society of preventing these would have been almost £700 million.

The data from the report has been used to update the interactive ‘Dangerous Roads Map’.

This reveals Britain’s riskiest roads and highlights where targeted investment could save lives.

In the foreword to the report, Lord Whitty, chair of the Road Safety Foundation, said: “British progress has depended largely on rising European vehicle standards.

“Similar advancements have not been seen in infrastructure safety.”

Whitty praised the government’s Safer Roads Fund, launched in 2016, as an influential step. 

He added: “Systemic management of infrastructure risk is now required by law elsewhere in Europe.

“Highways England and Transport for London have set ambitions that no-one should be hurt on their networks by 2040 but must now target infrastructure risks systemically along busy routes.”

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