Road safety assessment methods: deciding which one to use
Road safety assessments are strategically aligned to preventative outcomes and reducing the number of serious injury and fatal crashes. Several assessment methods are available with each one having its own unique application, level of detail, inputs, outputs and road safety outcomes. Some are suited to a project's pre-construction phase, while others are suited to the post-construction phase. Some methods seek to identify road safety issues without recourse to crash analysis prior to the occurrence of any crashes, while others aim to identify road safety issues based on a crash history. Some road safety assessment methods take a very broad perspective, while others take a more detailed approach. With the often subtle differences between the various assessments, practitioners can often be confronted with the dilemma of which road safety assessment method to use, given the complexities of the project or situation. Optimal selection of the various road safety assessment methods is often only possible with sufficient information. To assist practitioners the NSW Centre for Road Safety has developed a structured approach to choosing and using the most appropriate assessment method for the job. Practitioners would specify the scope of their task by recording key relevant dimensions which would then provide a structured array of assessment methods to guide their choices. The methods discussed include network risk assessments, route reviews, road safety impact statements, local and community focused road safety assessments, road safety audits, road safety evaluations, road safety checks, crash analyses, on site crash investigations, and speed zone reviews.