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Building Back Safer – Making Roads Fit for 2030

17 July 2021

The G7’s commitment to “Build Back a Better World” should start with a pledge to build back safer to tackle deaths and serious injuries on Britain’s roads. A report, from the Road Safety Foundation 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.

Building Back Safer: Making roads fit for 2030 indicates that a safer road network is fundamentally in line with the government’s stated objectives: investment in infrastructure, skills and innovation; and levelling up every part of Great Britain. The report highlights ten per cent of motorways and “A” roads that are clear priorities for investment.
Building back safer advocates for safer road infrastructure that includes facilities for active travel – schemes that deliver high rates of return and support casualty reduction and Great Britain’s global leadership in the field of road safety.

The report points to the societal loss attributed to road crashes each year (£33 billion in 2019). In 2019, some £1.7 billion 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 (strategic and local roads in England, Scotland and Wales) 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 £1.4 billion could prevent well over 11,000 fatal and serious injuries over the next 20 years with an average benefit-cost ratio of 3.7.

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