Cumbria Times
A Voice of the Free Press
4:00 PM 19th March 2024

£38 Million Boost For Safer Roads Across England


Drivers across England will benefit from a further £38.3 million investment into improving the safety of 17 of the most high risk roads in England, the Department for Transport has announced today (19 March 2024).

The £38.3 million will deliver improvements on 17 roads and comes on top of the £147.5 million already invested to deliver life-saving improvements on 82 high risk roads across England. Over a 20-year period, this funding will see significant reductions in fatal and serious injuries, up to as much as a 30.8% reduction on some roads.

Improvements will include:
designing new junctions and roundabouts
improving signage and road markings
new road surfacing and landscape management
improved pedestrian crossings and cycle lanes

This round of funding is expected to save 385 lives over the next 20 years, as well as reduce congestion, improve journey times and lower emissions.

The government is on the side of drivers and is delivering a wide range of improvements across all roads, through our £24 billion Roads Investment Strategy, our 30-point Plan for Drivers and the biggest ever increase in funding for local road improvements thanks to £8.3 billion of reallocated High Speed 2 (HS2) funding.

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said:
"Britain’s roads are some of the safest in the world, but we are always looking at ways to help keep drivers and all road users safe.

"As part of the government’s plan to improve roads across the country, we’re providing an extra £38 million so that local councils in England have the support they need to keep everyone safe while reducing congestion and helping to grow the economy."

According to the Road Safety Foundation (RSF), it is estimated that all tranches of the Safer Road Fund will save nearly 2,600 fatal and serious injuries over the next 20 years.

Once the whole life costs are factored in for the schemes, the overall benefit cost ratio of the investment is estimated at 5:3, meaning for every £1 invested, the societal benefit would be £5.30.

Dr Suzy Charman, Executive Director of RSF, said:
"The Safer Roads Fund is a transformational initiative for road safety and for the local authorities receiving funds. It makes it possible for road safety teams across the country to proactively address risk of death and serious injury for all road users on these routes.

"Systematic changes have already had a big impact on road death and serious injury, for example, seat belts and airbags protect lives when crashes happen. In the same way, we can design roads so that when crashes happen people can walk away – by clearing or protecting roadsides, putting in cross hatching to add space between vehicles, providing safer junctions like roundabouts or adding signalisation and/or turning pockets, and including facilities for walking and cycling.

"We congratulate the Department for Transport on this lifesaving initiative and thank ministers for their commitment to safer roads."

Steve Gooding, Director, RAC Foundation, said:
"The Safer Roads Fund is the hugely welcome gift that keeps on giving because today’s announcement means another 120 miles of safer road improvements will be delivered to the benefit of users. Such incremental improvements are key to achieving our collective aim for a safer road network as a whole."

It also follows the actions government has already taken to improve road safety, including:
updating the Highway Code to introduce a hierarchy of road users, which places road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy
THINK! campaigns continuing to target the most at-risk groups, aiming to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads of England and Wales
Project RADAR – a systematic investigation creating new opportunities to combine and compare data across government departments, arms-length bodies and policing
launching the largest real-world randomised controlled trial of interventions to improve the safety of learners and newly qualified drivers (Driver 2020)