9. Infrastructure Safety Management: Policies, Standards, Guidelines and Tools
Improvements to infrastructure can contribute substantially to reductions in death and serious injury. Many high severity crash types can be eliminated with the effective use of infrastructure. This includes crashes that are thought to be caused by human error and non-compliance.
Few infrastructure investments produce such high benefits as infrastructure measures targeted at making road safety improvement.
Road infrastructure is often the single most significant factor that contributes to the severity outcome of a crash.
Clear and defined policies relating to the delivery of Safe System infrastructure are required to drive road safety improvements.
Good examples of infrastructure policy can be found. Benchmarking against good practice should be undertaken to identify required changes in policy. Care should be taken when borrowing policy from other countries to ensure that it is fit for local conditions. However, there are a number of universal approaches that are applicable.
Standards, guidelines and tools are a mechanism to translate policy into action. Without linking to policy, such documents and tools can be reactive and delivery of safe infrastructure can lack structure and direction.
Guidelines to assist in the implementation of infrastructure policy exist. These can be used to assist in the delivery of Safe System infrastructure, although they will need to be adapted for local conditions. Such guidelines require constant review and update based on good practice.
The occurrence of key crash types on high risk routes can be reduced through effective infrastructure treatments. For those just starting to address safety, corridor demonstration projects are a very effective way to improve safety.