Free planning tool launched to help authorities with active travel

A new planning tool, developed by the Road Safety Foundation, is being launched to help Local Authorities to model the variables that make active travel safer, more pleasant and less stressful.

“Increasing levels of active travel has environmental and health benefits, but to achieve truly healthy mobility, it must also be safe and feel safe,” says Kate Fuller, Engineering Director at Road Safety Foundation. “Cyclists and pedestrians are known as vulnerable road users for good reason: the frailty of the human body is clear when it shares the same space as motorised traffic. This tool helps to assess which different types of pedestrians and cyclists would feel comfortable using a particular road with different facilities. Making active travel more attractive may also release pent-up demand and help more people make the switch.”

The Foundation has worked in partnership with County Councils for Kent, Hampshire, West Sussex, Staffordshire and Warwickshire as well as Transport for Greater Manchester to develop an interactive demonstrator tool to assess how different facilities would perform both in terms of iRAP Star Ratings and also the level of traffic stress.

“We have already had great feedback from Local Authorities who were involved in the early stages of development,” says Kate Fuller. “We look forward to building on the success of the Safer Roads Fund in our work with Authorities, continuing to help deliver the best possible outcomes in making their roads safer.”

Stewart Fowler, Road Safety Intelligence and Innovations Team Leader for Kent County Council says: “The ATT tool allows us to trial the impact of a range of active travel measures on both individual road user risk and levels of stress experienced. Understanding risk and stress together enables us to tackle perceptions of safety which will assist with increasing uptake and acceptability of active travel modes. The tool is simple to use, offers a concise visual output and most helpfully; a comparable, evidenced based assessment.  We will look to integrate the use of the tool at our optioneering stage for safety and active travel schemes to ensure risk and stress are considered as part of the scheme prioritisation.” 

Development of the Foundation’s modelling tool is funded by a grant from the Road Safety Trust, to help Local Authorities explore which ATF facilities work best to make walking and cycling safer.

Highway authorities are invited to join the Road Safety Foundation in a webinar demonstration between 10.00 and 11.00 hrs on Friday 24 June, and the modelling tool will be made available for free widespread use. To sign up to the webinar register here.

(Picture – Transport for Greater Manchester)

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