- Over 100.000 people are killed in road accidents every year in the EU;
- Road accidents are the first cause of death for the under-40s in the EU;
- 1/3 of all victims are under 25;
- Every year in Italy, 250.000 fatal and/or injurious accidents happen, with over 6.000 deaths and 300.000 injuries;
- Nearly 80% fatal and/or injurious accidents take place on urban streets (70% of injuries and nearly 50% of deaths).
Today, road safety is one of the EU’s most important issues and it’s becoming more pressing in all the member states at local, regional and national levels. Various institutions, associations, companies and private agencies are actively involved in reducing road deaths.
For some years, the European Commission has produced documents and various specific policies to promote road safety: on 2nd June 2003 the third European Action Plan for road safety was adopted with the ambitious aim of halving the number of road victims by 2010; on 20 July 2010, the fourth Action Plan for road safety 2010 – 2020 was brought into force “towards a European space for road safety” which confirmed the goal of halving the number of road victims in 10 years.
Italy has welcomed the European Commission’s ‘Road Safety’ National Plan (enabled through various annual funding programmes which in turn are entrusted to the Regions and Provinces which employ a competitive procedure to allocate funds to the Provinces and Town Councils either individually or in association.
The ‘Road Safety’ National Plan’ focuses attention on the importance of strategies to improve basic awareness and monitor accidents both crucial in a campaign aimed interventions to improve road safety.
For over 10 years GIS Design has been helping spread the culture of road safety in Italy.
The company has been supporting and to date is consultant to various Agencies (ANAS, Regions, Provinces and Town Councils) for providing projects related to integrated systems for improving road safety conditions in different areas or competency networks.
Since March 2014, it has played the role of Technical Secretary of the Road Safety National Council, a national authority designed for the diffusion of road safety culture in Italy.
The company offers improving integrated systems of road safety conditions through integrated management plans and interventions including:
- Implementing Road Safety Programming, Planning and Monitoring Centres (technical structures for arranging, supporting and coordinating projects to act on a communal or provincial level);
- Drawing up plans for road safety (aimed at reaching the improvement of circulation and road safety conditions, the decrease of noise and air pollution, energy saving, etc.);
- Organising training courses in schools, university and professional associations (by means of lessons and interactive courses in order to engage overall children and young men, future users of our roads);
- Organising conferences and seminars (in order to diffuse not only the accidents’ data of our roads, but also the road safety culture);
- Publishing brochures and organising campaigns to inform and raise awareness in public opinion;
- Developing safety analyses (safety audit) of new infrastructures in order to pinpoint possible elements compromising safety on work-in-progress roads; and safety analyses (safety reviews) of existing infrastructures;
- Designing interventions to improve safety conditions in road sections and intersections at high accident risk;
- Developing strategies and projects aimed at reducing accidents;
- Developing applications to support the activities of the designated authorities, according to the gathering, archiving and processing of data accidents.
Working with the personnel of Municipal Police Units, the Carabinieri, the Road Police, Technical Offices and Road Offices, and with help from Professors and Researchers at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Catania, GIS Design has developed great competence in the road safety sector, providing support to Administrations by identifying the best solutions to resolve specific critical situations.
As regards Sicilian Regional public bidding for co-financing interventions aimed at improving road safety, in line with EU action plans and the stipulations of the Road Safety National Plan , GIS Design has managed and still manages numerous Monitoring Centres in Eastern Sicily which has contributed significant experience in this sector.
Last year, GIS Design concentrated on working and investing only in procedures and applications for simplifying as much as possible data gathering, archiving and managing on behalf of Agencies thus creating data banks for studying road accident dynamics by identifying measures to prevent them.
In order to make such procedures more widespread, and to make available a significant quantity of homogeneous data so as to apply the various study models in the literature, GIS Design has recently been trying to bring down the cost of the applications required to manage accident data by taking advantage of Google’s free maps, Open Source GIS and the lowering of hosting costs. The software CRASH has a much lower cost than competitor models (including SIGMOSS also by GIS Design and GIS Arcview by ESRI) and is able to guarantee and consolidate the requirements of ease of use, data security, conformity with ISTAT tables, automatic operation, and interaction with other parameters (traffic, mobility, territorial planning, the environment etc.).
The requirements and functional characteristics of the software were defined by means of continuous cooperation with Municipal Police Units and the Transport Technical Offices of various Agencies with whom GIS Design has built a close working relationship in recent years.
Systems for managing road safety.
Regarding the Annual Programmes for enabling NPRS, many strategies are identified at the local level for improving road safety and reducing accidents both in terms of their gravity and frequency. Among these, a vital role is played by the Road Safety Programming, Planning and Monitoring Centres at the provincial and town council levels which were created to improve awareness and develop the analyses, data processing and conclusions necessary for defining the priorities and interventions in infrastructure both public and private which directly or indirectly influence the rates and characteristics of road safety.
By this logic, the monitoring centre ought to be a technical office which predisposes, incentivises and coordinates town council or provincial projects.
The work of the local monitoring centre can be summed up by:
- Improving road accident data quality to guarantee accuracy as well as identifying accident hot spots in the urban and provincial road networks;
- Analysing risk factors and identifying the appropriate solutions to remove them or significantly reduce them;
- Defining and implementing interventions for improving road safety;
- Identifying the structural risk factors and appropriate action strategies to remediate them; collaborating with other offices by means of essential auditing so that choices regarding the territory, town planning and infrastructure can avoid having prejudicial implications for safety levels.
Among the local strategies for improving road safety and reducing accidents identified by the Annual Action Programme of the National Road Safety Plan are the analyses of the road safety of the latest roads (Safety Audit) and of the existing roads (Safety Review). According to the provisions of ‘Guidelines for road safety analysis’ (Ministry for Infrastructure and Transport), these represent a formal examination which may be carried out on an entire road section or on a single intersection to identify the potential dangers of accidents and safety performance.
The aim of safety analyses is to reveal and evaluate the real or potential risks for traffic of particular infrastructural configurations and consequently define the most suitable counter-measures both technically and economically.
All possible interventions for reducing accidents identified by safety analysis were evaluated by multi-criteria economic analysis.
This evaluation phase allows various interventions to be compared in order to select the most suitable ones, and can also include complementary solutions.
To facilitate choosing and planning of the most suitable interventions, road safety managing systems include an informative territorial system which will be updated during the further monitoring phase.
Road safety management provides:
- Safety analyses through an appropriately structured relational data-base;
- Viability (technical and economic) evaluation of the possible improvement interventions at the level of infrastructure safety defined in the previous phase;
- Plan and build the chosen interventions;
- Monitor safety conditions to define the efficacy of the implemented interventions.