Risk Assessment

Previous versions of the CIHT Road Safety Audit Guidelines have included advice and information on the use of Risk Assessments as part of the Road Safety Audit Process. As part of the review of current practice and advise the use of Risk Assessments within the Audit Process has deliberately been omitted.

Risk Assessments as previously described in CIHT guidance were an attempt to quantify what is primarily a subjective approach. They advocated the use of a simplified matrix for assessing the risk of identified collisions and injury in terms of likelihood and severity as high, medium or of low risk.

The basis of this subjective approach is the auditor’s opinion as to the severity of an event and the frequency based on their understanding of the collision type i.e. lane change or pedestrian-vehicle conflict.

Such events are rare and random. Whilst it is possible to assess the likelihood of incidents based on an understanding of the general nature of collisions. It is not possible, with any degree of certainty to predict whether a particular feature or lack of safety provision at a specific site will result in a fatal, serious or slight injury occurring within a set timeframe. Such an approach is inappropriate within the audit report.

Risk assessments are nevertheless an important part of the design process in determining the overall cost-effectiveness of any safety measures. It is, therefore, part of the designer team’s role in responding to the audit recommendation to assess the overall risk of any changes to the design. This more detailed and quantifiable approach is comprehensively covered in DMRB GG104: Requirements for Safety Risk Assessment. It is this approach – at an appropriate degree of rigour that should be applied to any safety recommendations provided through the Audit Report if the risk of various recommendations needs to be assessed.

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