Self-Explaining and Forgiving Roads related to Speed Management in Rural Areas

Lene Herrstedt, Paper from the 22nd ARRB International Conference i Canberra October 2006

The vision of "The self explaining and forgiving road" is a new way of thinking in planning and designing road infrastructure. Design of roads must focus on simplicity and clearness instead of complexity and ambiguity.

Whatever we do about design - including use of information technology - with the aim to help the roadusers to manage traffic situations in a safe manner – road users will make mistakes and accidents will occur.

The higher speed the more serious will the consequences be from making mistakes in traffic.

A major part of the road safety problem in Denmark is related to rural roads. More than 2/3 of the fatalities and 46 % of all casualties in Danish traffic are on rural roads and high speed is a fundamental factor.

This is the background for the project concerning development of speed management methods for use in rural areas initiated by the Danish Road Directorate.

Ideas have been collected from national and European traffic experts and practitioners and a Catalogue of Ideas for speed management measures for use in rural areas has been worked out. In parallel a dialogue between traffic psychologists and traffic engineers has been mobilised with the purpose to discuss and describe the general principles for speed behaviour.

Some of the ideas from the Catalogue have been selected for implementation. Evaluation results and experiences will be used for developing new road design standards for rural areas.

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