Rural road safety in The Netherlands: a new vision for a sustainably safe road traffic system

Contribution to the 3rd ADAC/BASt Symposium 'Driving Safely in Europe', Baden-Baden, Germany, June 11-12 1997

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In: Proceedings of the 3rd ADAC/BASt Symposium 'Driving safely in Europe' ('Sicher fahren in Europa'), pp. 113-120.


Wegman, F.



Rural roads account for a substantial proportion of fatal and injury accidents in spite of relatively low traffic volumes. Road users on rural roads run a relatively high risk. Acombination of factors could explain this. To mention a few: many rural roads do not meet design requirements that would be imposed today, various types of road users use the same physical space although their characteristics differ remarkably (speed, protection, direction of movement), many rural roads permit high driving speeds while sometimes speed adjustment is required. It is seldom that forgiving road sides are available. A wide range of evidence is available how to make these rural roads safer by improving the road environment (road construction, road design, black spot measures etc.), and by behavioural changes due to law enforcement and publicity. However, it looks as though these - more traditional - approaches will not lead to substantially safer rural roads. A new concept has been introduced recently in The Netherlands, hopefully leading to rural roads with risk rates which are considerably lower than today. This concept which can be considered as a start for a next generation of road safety measures is called ‘sustainable road safety'. The concept forms an essential part of the Dutch road safety policy today. The principles of this approach will be presented together with the state-of-the-art of introducing and implementing these principles in practice

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