Road Safety Manual
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7.5 Delivering Programmes and Projects

Programme Guidelines

Programme guidelines are specifications for use by road authority staff of the elements within a potential programme that are to be developed and funded on a priority basis (usually on the basis of benefit-cost ratio or net present value; see Intervention Selection And Prioritisation). They are used by many road authorities to guide preparation of projects that are to be considered in a corporate approval process in various programme funding categories for the coming financial year.

Their development is usually a cooperative process between the relevant central policy area and the regions of a road authority; such processes are required to develop and deliver the approved projects as components of the particular programme. They represent the specification of the proposed annual activity programme which has been agreed between core business areas, regional offices and corporate level, and enable regions to bid in detail for categories of project funding.

An example of this is the introduction of a safety-focused maintenance policy that embeds safety performance criteria in the agreed levels of service of the road network. Modification of these existing practices can deliver measurable safety improvement across the network over time. A review of existing practices and identification of ways to modify current practice to deliver a safer network at the same or similar levels of cost could be carried out as part of annual programme guideline development.

Effective programme guidelines require sufficient lead time for development, and then are used to assist the generation of the annual programme for review, consideration and prioritisation during the budget development period.

There are many variants to this process in different authorities. The important elements are:

  • ongoing discussions between the centre (head office) and the regions to agree on guideline details and emphasis;
  • clarity of language and purpose;
  • guidance on project detail in terms of risk to be addressed and nature of potential treatments;
  • guidance on programme scale (likely funding);
  • review of projects for compliance with guidelines, at bidding time and at project budget bid consideration time;
  • use of outcomes from projects to progressively inform programme development and delivery.

It takes time and effort to set up arrangements for new programmes with which the road authority is comfortable. It is suggested that simpler programmes (both development and delivery) in the initial years of development can assist with this transition, especially for LMICs.

Starting with projects that are more straightforward in nature (such as blackspot or blacklength identification and treatment on the existing network and road safety audit activity for new projects) offer a good initial learning platform.

The commencement of safety programmes with blackspot treatments enables staff to understand the necessary analysis of crash costs, the impacts of specific treatment types (such as roundabouts or hard-shoulder widening), and the crash cost reduction benefits of those treatments. As outlined in Establishing Corporate Processes to Develop Policy in Embedding the Safe System in the Goals and Operational Practice of Road Authorities these are necessary skill sets required before a road authority moves on to crash-risk-based identification, and analysis and treatment of network lengths and routes to achieve crash reduction benefits.

Success in the initial years with a simpler programme is likely to lead to increased support for the road safety improvement task from the community and government and to further funding.

Pathway to Effective Roles, Responsibilities, Policy Development and Programmes

Getting started

  • Understand the legislated safety responsibilities of your road authority.
  • Gain support of the authority CEO for change and for innovative approaches and treatments to improve safety outcomes.
  • Establish a strategic road safety objective for your authority.
  • Introduce the Safe System to your authority and commence the process of embedding it within the goals of your road authority.
  • Introduce processes within your authority to develop new policies based on Safe System principles for your planning and operations for asset management and improvement, traffic management and maintenance and apply these.

Making progress

  • Move to fully embed the Safe System in the targets and practice of your road authority.
  • Train and consult with staff across the organization about roles and responsibilities in implementing the Safe System, the processes necessary to implement the new approach, including those for annual programme development and delivery, and reinforce these regularly.
  • Plan and implement demonstration projects.
  • Strengthen network safety management based on review of the application of Safe System policies and experience gained from planning and implementing demonstration projects.
  • Develop improved business cases to seek and obtain increased funding for Safe System treatments and their wider roll-out.

Consolidating activity

  • Optimise the Safe System focus of programs and projects.
  • Roll-out more broadly across the network the successful demonstration project approach, with ongoing evaluation of effectiveness.
  • Strengthen processes for policy development and review activities regularly to ensure safety is fully embedded in planning and operations activities.
  • Support sub-national government road authorities to embed the Safe System into their planning and operations.


Reference sources

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