A good transport system is vital to the economic prosperity of any city. Delivering a good transport system includes the challenges of managing congestion and the provision of a world-class public transport system, with the aim of providing maximum mobility. All this has to be delivered as safely as possible, which is London Road Safety Unit's (LRSU) challenge.
The financial cost to the community of collisions in London in 2008 is calculated to be almost £2.2 billion. This takes into account lost output, medical and ambulance costs and human costs. The physical, social and emotional burden to our society is immeasurable.
The tragedy of road collisions is that in the majority of cases they are avoidable. The causes are complex, but good road and vehicle design can help to minimise the injuries. This has tended to be the thrust of road safety in the past. LRSU are now looking towards the attitudes and behaviours of road users as an area to be progressed in order to further reduce casualties on our roads.
The battle to reduce collisions and casualties centres around inclusive partnership working that focuses on:
These four E's mutually reinforce each other and are all an integral part of road safety. Substantial resources need to be invested in the four E's to try to reduce the number of collisions and casualties on London's roads, and the economic, physical, social and emotional burden to society.
Health & emergency services
Death and injury on the road, have a significant impact on the time and resources of our health and emergency services. Road safety engineering, education, enforcement and evaluation can lead to fewer collisions and free up health service and emergency services resources.
Staying at, or within, the speed limit can reduce CO2 emissions as well as reducing the amount of petrol used. Therefore encouraging safer driving (within recommended limits) can also benefit the environment.
Road safety education is vital in helping to reduce the number of children (and adults) killed on our roads. Despite road death being the biggest single killer of children in the UK, road safety education is not currently a statutory subject in the national curriculum. LRSU believes it is paramount that researched, progressive, engaging curriculum linked educational resources are provided free to all teachers and children throughout London.
Research has shown that statistically, people in areas of higher deprivation, or where English predominantly isn't their first language, are at higher risk of having road collisions. Road safety programmes and safer roads can, not only save lives, but encourage stronger communities, regenerate urban areas and connect isolated groups.
Collisions and casualties also often involve instances of law breaking and crime. Reducing collisions therefore contributes to crime reduction.