Taking on the Rural Road Safety Challenge

  • Published: Department for Transport, 2010
  • Authors: B. King, S. Chapman
  • Date Added: 07 Mar 2014
  • Last Update: 09 Jan 2015
  • Format: pdf


The rural road safety demonstration project showcases work done by four county councils in response to an invitation to apply for specific funding support from the Department for Transport and to show the impacts of measures to improve rural road safety. The aim of the project was to discover innovative interventions and innovative approaches to bring new insight to the issue of managing casualties on rural roads.


Four county councils (Devon, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Northamptonshire) were identified as beacon councils for road safety in 2006. Road safety projects were implemented between 2008 and early 2010. Some of the interventions were high cost and complex, whereas others were smaller and specifically focussed.

Key Findings:

  • Strategic planting at village entries reduced traffic speed (mean speed tended to reduce by about 1.5 per cent). (Norfolk)

  • It appears that the removal of vegetation in order to remove roadside obstacles had the effect of increasing vehicles speeds. Although fairly slight, there was a clear shift of more vehicles driving at higher speeds. This result was statistically significant. (Norfolk)

  • When reducing the speed limit from 60mph to 50mph on certain road sections, the 85th percentile vehicle speeds fell by around 3 mph. (Lincolnshire).

  • A programme of enhanced verge maintenance on sections of the B1188 and A15 in Lincolnshire saw an increase in both vehicle speeds and collisions.


Rural road safety


In many cases the interventions have been completed relatively recently – too recently to be able to provide a robust set of casualty data.