Modelling and analysing cyclist road safety performance in Scotland: a safety in numbers perspective

  Vulnerable Road User (VRU) road safety performance lags behind the improvements achieved among motorised users despite having the same road safety targets for reduction of injury and death across EU. In Scottish, health and transport policies seek to increase walking and cycling alongside commitments to improve road safety and many government agencies and advocates of sustainable travel promote the benefits of a phenomena called ‘Safety in Numbers’ (SiN) which has become a popular paradigm in transport policy and planning. It assumes that more people walking and cycling will reduce the numbers killed and injured.

While the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths has slowed in the last five years, pedestrians and cyclists still account for 15% and 8% respectively of all road casualties in Scotland (Scottish Transport Statistics, 2016). At the same time the long-term trends for active travel have seen a slight reduction in walking and an increase in cycling to work at 13% and 2.6% respectively (National Statistics for Scotland, 2015), which poses the question: Why has VRU road safety performance not improved in tandem with motorised modes over the past decade in Scotland and is SiN having an effect?

The aim of this research is to investigate whether there is a VRU SiN effect in Scotland due to increased mobility and examine if there are wider spatial, demographic and policy differences affecting VRU. It is important to understand these interactions because ‘perceived road safety risk’ is a barrier to many potential walkers and cyclists. In addition, local variations in travel and safety are not necessarily representative of national global aggregated figures. Spatial analysis of injury risk allows for critical analyse of VRU with respect to location, infrastructure and possibly risk perception as part of this research at a local level. By understanding how these aspects play a part in VRU safety performance, strategies can be developed using better information with specific relevance to VRU, so that VRU injury and risk performance improves within global targets.

  • Dates:

    2015 to 2019

  • Qualification:

    Doctorate (PhD)

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