A new report published by the International Transport Forum (ITF) benchmarks the road safety performance of 72 urban areas and puts forward recommendations to improve urban road safety.
Data for the report were collected directly from local governments in 31 areas, 19 of which were in Europe. The report also includes two case studies conducted in the Portuguese capital Lisbon and the capital of Latvia, Riga, between 2017 and 2018.
The study found that considerable differences in the fatality risk for road users exist between cities and stressed that analysing data on road fatalities is challenging at the municipal level. Analysing traffic injury data is therefore also very important.
The recommendations for local authorities on how to improve road safety in urban areas relate to better urban mobility planning, improving data collection methods and adopting ambitious targets for reducing the number of casualties.
According to the report, more local governments should adopt sustainable urban mobility plans (SUMPs) at the metropolitan level and link or integrate these with road safety action plans. Furthermore, the report suggests that cities should allocate more funding to data collection about vulnerable road users’ travel behaviour, in cooperation with metropolitan authorities, national authorities and particularly hospitals.
Hospitals should play a bigger role in providing traffic casualty data, according to report. Data provided by hospitals should complement police records, which are often the only source of information on casualty numbers despite the high level of under-reporting of casualties in police records.
A strong focus should be placed on protecting vulnerable road users, which make up about 80% of road fatalities in dense European urban areas. The ITF advises that cities enhance provisions to enable people to walk and cycle more safely and more often, with more attention being placed on street re-design and the provision of protected infrastructure for cyclists.
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