Last year CEDR launched its 2016 Transnational Research Programme which comprises three main research programmes:
- Water Quality – Environmentally Sustainable Roads: Surface- and Groundwater Quality
- Biodiversity – “Conflicts along the Road: Invasive Species and Biodiversity”
This is the ninth transnationally funded research programme carried out under the CEDR Transnational Road Research Programme. The participating CEDR members are Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Finland, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. These road administrations have committed funding for the research and also provide experts for the selection and technical management of the projects. The Call is being managed on behalf of CEDR by Rijkswaterstaat in the Netherlands
PROGReSS is one of four projects funded under the “Safety” research programme and is being carried out by a consortium comprising SWOV of the Netherlands (lead), TRL (UK), Arup (Ireland), LNEC (Portugal) and Prof. Roland Weber (University of Darmstadt). The PROGReSS project deals with the project ‘Guidance for Safe roadsides’ detailed in the Description of Research Needs (DoRN) that CEDR published in 2016 regarding safety.
There are several studies that have focused on the safety of roadsides. However, roadside design and maintenance is still a major problem on road safety, especially in European rural roads. Possible explanations for this problem include :
- Although there is research available on the topic, there are no standard guidelines that all countries can use, leading to different approaches regarding the design and management of safe road sides in different countries.
- The relationship between crashes and treatment effectiveness has not been studied in detail for all relationships.
- Consequences due to deviations from the guidelines are not always understood.
The main objective of PROGReSS is to utilise existing guidelines and to develop recommendations for a standardised approach for the design and maintenance of safe roadsides on primary European roads. The work will also focus on maintenance aspects and the safety of workers and road users during road side maintenance. Not only will the project utilise and consolidate existing European and international knowledge, it will harness this to develop a practical and easy to use (decision support) tool with which road authorities will be able to assess and develop the most effective strategy for ensuring safe road side design and operation. The tool will be piloted in a number of the countries funding this research programme.
The primary objectives as listed by the DoRN of the PROGReSS project are to:
- Conduct a review of existing guidelines on safe roadside design, maintenance and requirements for obstacle-free zones and restraint systems.
- Assess the capability of European National Road Authorities and practitioners to implement guidelines and maintain them during the roads’ life cycles.
- Develop standard guidelines and recommendations to ensure safe road side designs for European NRA’s.
These primary objectives were discussed by the project team during a kick–off meeting in August 2017 and to further focus the research effort, a number of enabling objectives were formulated and these are shown below:
Conduct a review of existing guidelines on safe roadside design, maintenance and requirements for obstacle-free zones and restraint systems.
- To identify effective roadside risk mitigation practices applied successfully in different countries around the world
- To review the dimensions of clear zones and the definitions of minor obstacles/hazards accepted in the clear zone
- To develop warrants/protocols to protect road users from roadside hazards during the road life cycle.
- To review the safety requirements in road side standards and guidelines and to better understand, describe and validate the evidence supporting road safety effects in the risk management process.
- To review and assess the Cost-Benefit-Analysis procedures adopted in road side safety assessments in Europe.
- To review the maintenance and road worker safety requirements in current road side safety design and maintenance standards and guidelines
- To propose common approaches and, where relevant, to propose appropriate amendments
Assess the capability of European National Road Authorities and practitioners to implement guidelines and maintain them during the roads’ life cycles.
- To review operational procedures among NRA’s in Europe in the application of road side safety design and maintenance standards and guidelines and to identify implementation constraints and implications
- To identify remedial procedures and processes for road side safety design, maintenance and operational standards and guidelines to ensure wider application and ultimately resulting in improved road side safety management in Europe.
Develop standard guidelines and recommendations to ensure safe road side designs for European NRA’s.
- To improve current road side safety design and management through improving working procedures, guidelines and standards
- To facilitate the process of communicating proposed changes to existing practice and to garner support for the adoption of improved road side safety design and management practices among European NRA’s
- To improve the practical application of accident frequency and severity models to guide roadside safety policies
- To develop a methodology, through which NRAs can objectively assess their roadside safety management practices and identify areas of improvement as well as practical solutions that can be introduced to target these areas.