In Canada, road safety audits generally refer to assessments conducted during the design phase of a roadway, while in-service road safety reviews generally refer to the identification of improvements for a road that is already in use. However, much of the rest of the world uses just one phrase, road safety audits, for both.
These are some key concepts to keep in mind when making recommendations to improve the safety of either an existing road or a proposed road design:
- Managing road safety primarily means managing conflicts. If the number of conflicts can be reduced, then safety will be improved.
- Traffic volume is the single biggest predictor of the number of collisions. More volume equals more collisions.
- Public transit is the safest travel mode. Designs which reduce the need for people to take personal vehicles and provide supportive public transit will improve safety.
- Speed kills. Reduce travel speed and safety will be improved.
- If the safety can be improved for the most vulnerable road users, or for drivers who are novices, tired, unfamiliar, or impaired, then safety will be improved for all road users.
The following road safety audit guidelines and prompt lists resources are available online and most of them are free downloads.
Canada - National
- Transportation Association of Canada: The Canadian Road Safety Audit Guide (2001) [Not Free]
- Transportation Association of Canada: The Canadian Guide to In-service Road Safety Reviews (2004) [Not Free]
Canada - Other
- University of New Brunswick Transportation Group Road Safety Audit Guidelines (1999)
- Alberta Transportation Road Safety Audit Guidelines (2004)
- Region of Peel In-service Road Safety Review Guidelines (2018) [Released as part of an RFP, turn to page 30 for the guidelines]
USA - National
- Transportation Research Board, National Cooperative Highway Research Program Synthesis 321: Roadway Safety Tools for Local Agencies (2004)
- Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration Road Safety Audit Guidelines (2006)
- Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration Pedestrian Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompt Lists (2007) which has been updated to Pedestrian and Bicyclist Road Safety Audit (RSA) Guide and Prompt List (2020)
- Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration Road Safety Audit Toolkit for Federal Land Management Agencies and Tribal Governments (2010)
- Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration Bicycle Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompt Lists (2012)
- Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration Wrong Way Driving Road Safety Audit Prompt List (2013)
- America Traffic Safety Services Association Work Zone Road Safety Audit Guidelines and Prompt Lists (2013)
- New South Wales Transport Roads and Traffic Authority Guidelines for Road Safety Audit Practices (2011)
- New Zealand Transport Agency Road Safety Audit Procedures for Projects (2013)
- Highways England Design Manual for Roads and Bridges Volume 5 Section 2 Road Safety Audit (2019)
If you know of another guideline that you would recommend that I include in this list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .