Last week Lord Berkeley retired after 26 years as President of the Road Danger Reduction Forum (RDRF). So what has been achieved since we were set up in 1993? Is road danger being properly addressed? And since governance of policy on safety on the road is always part of wider transport policy, is the way our society views transport what we need for the 21st century? Despite some positive developments, the answer for both is no.
So what is the road danger reduction (RDR) agenda? Following publication of my “Death on the Streets: Cars and the mythology of road safety” in 1992, a conference in Leeds was organised to outline the “new agenda” in road safety, where a group of transport professionals invented the phrase “road danger reduction”.
A key concern was that the “road safety” (RS) establishment’s metric for success – aggregated deaths or casualty numbers – was deeply flawed. We knew that reduction of casualties could be attributed to spontaneous change, or migration of the more vulnerable (and benign) mode users from the highway environment, and that at the very least casualty reduction could be better achieved by reducing danger at source – from the (mis)use of motorised vehicles.
The academic basis, such as John Adams’ reading of “the Smeed curve”, was robust. All we had to do was state the obvious to politicians: reported Killed and Serious Injury (KSI) casualties are not the same as, and may be inversely related to, actual danger. Everybody knows a busy gyratory system that may have few reported pedestrian and cycling KSIs precisely because the danger at such locations inhibits people from cycling and walking there. “Real road safety” – RDR – states this.
Without tackling car culture we won’t make headway with road danger reduction | RDRF
rdrfukJuly 24, 2019 (This article appeared in the 19th July 2019 issue of Local Transport Today as “Viewpoint” – online here) Last week Lord Berkeley retired after 26 years as President of the Road Danger Reduction Forum (RDRF). So what has been achieved since we were set up in 1993? Is road danger being properly… [Read More]