MOBILITY AND TRANSPORT
European Road Safety Charter
Good Practice

Development of new standard for road safety inspections

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Development of new standard for road safety inspections

Initiative details

01/01/2021 to 30/09/2021
Please describe the main road safety challenges/problems you have addressed or are addressing. 
EU RISM Directive requires member states carry out proactive road safety inspections. While TII has a long history of developing standards and implementing safety programmes they were mainly based around patterns of historical collision data. This would be considered a retrospective approach. Since the adoption of the Road Infrastructure Safety Management (RISM) Directive, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has developed a new standard that sets out the processes around road safety inspections (RSI). The programmes, based on the standard, relies on a visual inspection along the route. Engineers versed in road design and with experience I road safety audits conduct these surveys. However, despite their expertise, early analysis of the data exposed some inconsistencies in how 'risk' as assigned to items noted in the RSI. The objective was to build in a way to achieve greater consistency around the proactive risk rating process. At one level the target audience were just the engineers involved in the inspection process but as we discussed the new insist from our data analysis it became obvious that other areas within our organisation could make use of our risk rating programme. Some of our results are now form part of a vehicle restrained course. See https://www.engineersireland.ie/listings/event/7353. In addition, TII have prepared a paper for the 2020 International Symposium on Highway Geometric Design (now postponed to 2022 due to COVID-19). This paper (https://www.tii.ie/technical-services/safety/road-safety/2020-ISHGD-Motorway-RSI-Ireland.pdf) discussed TII's proactive safety programme and the risk rating process on the entire motorway network in Ireland, circa 1,000 km, as we believed our work has a wider audience.

Project activities

If you work together with external partners, list the most important partners and briefly describe their role. 
Yes, other partners were involved. The RSI process requires private contracts, e.g. Roadplan (https://roadplan.ie/projects) to conduct the surveys. Several workshops were held (and are held at twice yearly since the programme began) to gather practical knowledge around conducing route wide surveys as well as aspects of assessing road and roadside hazards that could be captured within a design standard. The digital data gathered during the surveys and post survey reviews, that form part of the RSI process, are stored on a online platform. This platform has some of its origins with a CEDR imitative called EuRSI (https://www.cedr.eu/eursi-project-results). TII work closely with iGeotec (http://www.ubipix.com/about/) who have developed this platform and help manage the content. Together we have produced training video for the team involved in RSI, used to help build and reinforce the idea that consistency in data gathering and risk is fundamental to the RSI process.
Please describe the project activities you carried/are carrying out and the time period over which these were implemented. 
In question 14, there is a link to a paper TII have submitted to the ISHGD 2020(now 2022). Figure 1 on page 2 include some dates and actions around the RSI programme and how some of the research from CEDR has fed into the RSI programme. Nonetheless, the following are some key dates and action taken by TII. Circa 2009, Ireland held the chair of the Road Safety group within CEDR (conference of European Directorates of Roads). A research programme, built around the topic of 'safety at the heart of road design' was put out to tender by the CEDR road safety group. From the submissions, five research projects were awarded. One of the research projects was EuRSI (see https://www.cedr.eu/eursi-project-results). This acronym stood for European Road Safety Inspection. TII was the principal contact point for this research project between CEDR (the funding body) and the research consortium (headed by Maynooth University and iGeoTec). Circa 2012, TII tendered for services to conduct road safety inspections. Post the awarding of this service to a number of external contractors, numerous workshops and meeting were held to develop and refine the process and produce the first RSI standard for Ireland. First standard published in June 2012. Revised in 2014 and 2017 (see Document (tiipublications.ie) Prior to the current revision to the RSI standard (December 2017), additional development was carried out on the online platform (developed by iGeotec and funded by TII) to imbed a new tool to improved greater consistency of the application of risk rating to road and roadside items. This new tool was based on analysis of the ratios of primary collision types (PCT) and focusing on the number of reported injury collision to non-injury collision for the same PCT. Circa 2018, the Irish motorway network was resurveyed as part of a RSI programme using the new iGeotec platform and embedded risk rating tools. The results of this RSI we compiled and paper prepared for the 2020 (now 2022) International Symposium on Highway Geometric design.
List the actions you carried/are carrying out 
Date 
Tuesday, 31 May, 2022

Evaluation

What has been the effect of the activities? 
The immediate effect is that TII can show compliance with the EU Directive on Road Infrastructure Safety management. This Directive requires that member states conduct regular (no less that every 5 years) proactive inspections on their road networks. The RSI process developed by TII allows for the consistent risk rating of the items identified via the RSI programme. Over time TII expect to see the overall number of items reported to fall as well as fewer high-risk items remaining. The high-risk items, observed in the initial part of the RS, I will be reduced post the implementation of appropriate engineering countermeasures. For a graphical view of the result and how TII will monitor and visualise the RSI data over different time periods see the ISHGD available at 2020-ISHGD-Motorway-RSI-Ireland.pdf (tii.ie). The RSI programme (a proactive approach to road safety) complements the more traditional safety programme that is based around historical patterns of collision data. TII has observed that the number of 'high collision locations' (HCLs) within its road network has diminished over time. This is in part due to an effective programme to treat HCLs funded by TII. In the last decade TII have helped remove half of all HCLs. Projections show that over the coming decade this programme, under current funding levels, will reduce half of the remaining HCLs. So as engineering treatments help improve safety it is becoming more difficult to treat the remaining network based on historical collision patterns. The RSI programme is a proactive programme and treatment of sites within the road network is not based on historical collision patterns.
Please briefly explain why your initiative is a good example of improving road safety. 
The reuse of reported material damage only collisions, to establish a ratio of injury to non-injury collisions, is a rare (if not unique) example of incorporating all the reported collision data that many countries have access to into a proactive safety programme i.e. RSI programme run by TII. By quantifying the numbers of collisions, for the same collision type, by injured and non-injury a new proxy for the consequence to vehicle occupants can be established. This established baseline for the consequence of different types of collisions helps build consistency into the risk rating process used in RSI.
How have you shared information about your project and its results? 
Visit links.