Tackling high-risk regional roads – update16 Oct 2018

Rehabilitation programme for dangerous A roads

A £100 million programme of works is on course to prevent almost 1,450 deaths and serious injuries over the next two decades on the riskiest council-managed A roads in England.

That is the assessment of the Road Safety Foundation and the RAC Foundation after analysis of dozens of schemes that have recently qualified for government money.

The cash has been allocated from the Safer Roads Fund and will be used to undertake a range of re-engineering work, some of it as simple and straightforward as putting in rumble strips and improving visibility at junctions and protecting or removing trees, poles or lighting columns

The work programme is unique because it used a proactive approach to work out how to reduce risk on a road.

Traditionally, steps are taken to improve safety after a crash has occurred, while the Safe System approach uses road engineering to try and prevent crashes from happening in the first place.

Safe System working recognises that humans are error prone and some crashes are inevitable. To improve the survivability of these crashes roads and roadsides are re-engineered to make them more forgiving when an incident occurs.

This type of risk management approach is already applied in areas as diverse as medicine, mining and aviation.

The £100 million investment comes via the Safer Roads Fund created by the Department for Transport. It is being used to improve safety along the 48 of the riskiest stretches of council-managed A roads in the country as identified by analysis in 2016 by the Road Safety Foundation (RSF).

The ten stretches of road that are expected to see the greatest casualty reductions are:


Rank Area Road Detail Local authority

(for longest part of link)

Estimated fatal and serious injuries prevented over 20 yrs
1 North West A588: Lancaster – Skippool A585 Lancashire CC 151
2 North West A683: Lancaster – A65 Kirkby Lonsdale Lancashire CC 114
3 Yorkshire and Humber A18: Laceby A46 – Ludborough A16 North East Lincolnshire Council 91
4 West Midlands A529: Hinstock A41 – Audlem A525 Shropshire CC 68
5 East Midlands A5012: A515 – A6 Cromford Derbyshire CC 58
6 North West A684: Leeming to Sedbergh Cumbria and North Yorkshire Councils 55
7 South of England A4: Bath Road M4 J7 – M4 J5 Slough BC 54
8 North West A6: Lancaster – M6 J33 Lancashire CC 47
9 South of England A361: Banbury – Chipping Norton A44 Oxfordshire CC 46
10= North West A581: A59 Nr Rufford – A49 Euxton Lancashire CC 43
10= East Midlands A631: Market Rasen – Louth A16 Lincolnshire CC 43


The analysis by the Road Safety Foundation and the RAC Foundation estimates the total value of the prevention of harm across the 48 schemes, over a 20-year period, is to be £550 million.

The £100 million commitment across the 48 schemes will provide:

  • 436 miles of road being targeted overall
  • 300 improved bends
  • 290 miles of improved roadside shoulders
  • 225 improved junctions
  • 150 miles of improved speed limits, enforcement and traffic calming
  • 135 new or improved pedestrian crossings
  • 90 miles of cleared or protected roadsides – e.g. crash barriers
  • 90 miles of improved visibility and signing
  • 80 miles of improved medians (hatching/wide centrelines)
  • 70 miles of improved road surfaces
  • 20 miles of new or improved cycle facilities
  • 10 miles of new or improved footpaths