A new study has calculated that investment packages totalling £1.4bn could prevent over 11,000 fatal and serious injuries on the roads over the next two decades.
Building Back Safer: Making roads fit for 2030, from the Road Safety Foundation (RSF) and Ageas Insurance, says that the pandemic has presented a unique chance to re-shape travel patterns and support healthier travel choices, which in turn will cut casualty numbers and help to achieve health, exercise, net-zero carbon and air quality goals.
According to the study, the societal loss attributed to road crashes in 2019 was £33bn. In that same year, £1.7bn was diverted from elsewhere in the health budget. This sum is the equivalent of around 11,000 double-crewed ambulances, 61,000 junior nurses or 2,400 level-3 intensive care beds.
Building Back Safer summarises the levels of investment needed to tackle the 10% of each road network with the potential to prevent the greatest number of deaths and serious injuries per £1 spent over a 20-year period. It also shows the 10% of English local authority roads – by region – that would offer the best returns, so investment is spread across England.
Together it is estimated that these investment packages totalling £1.4bn could prevent over 11,000 fatal and serious injuries over the next 20 years with an average benefit-cost ratio of 3.7.
In the foreword to the report, RSF chair Lord Whitty wrote: ‘Ahead of us is a unique opportunity to re-shape the way we move – to plan for healthier mobility – redefining our neighbourhoods to support safer active travel. Such changes may help us to deliver lower casualty numbers in the future while also helping to achieve health, exercise, net zero carbon and air quality goals.’
Ageas CEO Ant Middle said: ‘While the pandemic may have changed the way that we live and travel in the short term, it has not fundamentally changed the devastating impact of road crashes.
‘Let’s not slip back to accepting the traditional causes of loss of life on our roads. Let’s take the opportunity to build a better transport infrastructure with investment focused on resolving the remaining risky roads used by thousands of people every day. Let’s build back safer.’
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