The Role of Road Safety Audits in Today’s Road Network

The Role of Road Safety Audits in Today’s Road Network

The Role of Road Safety Audits in Today’s Road Network

We all love the feeling that driving on a new stretch of road brings. Not only does a new road mean faster journeys saving us valuable time and money, ultimately they mean safer journeys. When driving on a new road, you can appreciate the efforts of the designers and the construction crews in delivering this marvellous piece of engineering. One element of the design process that may not be appreciated by road users is the role of the Road Safety Audit Team on the project.

So sit back, relax and prepare to be enlightened on the role that Road Safety Audits play in delivering safer journeys on our ever expanding road network.

So what is a Road Safety Audit? A Road Safety Audit is a comprehensive safety check carried out by independent, qualified auditors. The audit process that is now the status quo was developed in the United Kingdom when it was realised that safety factors were overlooked as a result of designers focusing on design standards. In Ireland, audits have been carried out since 1996 and were introduced into the Irish road design standards in 2000.

An important point to note is that a Road Safety Audit is a safety check and not a design/technical check. Equally, the auditors will not redesign the safety related problems identified.

Road Safety Audits are carried out in accordance with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) standards. In addition, the audit team personnel must be approved by TII and have the required experience and training.

Road Safety Audits are carried out on the following scheme types:

  • Road Schemes – these are new roads or where a permanent change to an existing road or roadside layout is proposed.
  • Development Scheme – this is where a development, such as a housing scheme, will result in a change to an existing road or roadside layout.

On National Roads, an audit is required for all infrastructure projects. On Regional and Local Roads, audits are considered best practice.

Road Safety Audits are carried out at the following stages of proposed schemes:

  • Stage F – Feasibility Stage of the project and option selection
  • Stage 1 – Preliminary Design Stage
  • Stage 2 – Detailed Design Stage
  • Stage 1&2 – On small schemes, one design stage audit at detailed design may be more appropriate
  • Stage 3 – Completion of construction
  • Stage 4 – Early Operation, usually within 2 to 4 months of opening

So, is it is really worth doing Road Safety Audits? It is stated that one audit saves one casualty per year per scheme. Therefore, a Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 audit carried out on a project will save three casualties per year. This presents a real saving to human life and the stress caused by collisions, regardless of the severity.

ORS has been successfully completing Road Safety Audit services for both the private and public sector for the last 15 years. Our Road Safety Audit team is approved by TII to carry out all audits at all stages. If you require any further information on the requirements and process of Road Safety Audits, please get in touch with our Transportation Team who will be happy to assist you.


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