Adoption of EU directive on road infrastructure safety and development of additional standards to manage safety on Ireland’s roads

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Desmond O’Connor
Harry Cullen
Forbes Vigors
Alastair de Beer

This paper looks at the work undertaken in Ireland on updating and implementing design standards in compliance with the recent requirements set out in the EU Directive on Road Infrastructure Safety Management (RISM). These improved standards complement the actions in Ireland’s Road Safety Strategy (RSS) that aim to reduce road deaths and serious injuries on our roads. Issues dealing with the practical problems associated with collecting large volumes of data, during drive through route inspections, are addressed. Solutions described herein and adopted have helped resolve some of the challenges associated with this type of data collection programme. Significant progress has been made in this area over a relatively short period. The RISM programme in Ireland has moved from data collection through analysis and review. Currently there is a programme underway implementing solutions on the ground. In tandem with the inspection programme, the principles behind forgiving roadsides have been catered for in the design process and new guidelines issued. This philosophy sits well with the move to a safe systems approach, as set out in the Road Safety Strategy, currently in operation in Ireland. The guidelines and standards developed in recent years are expected to deliver substantial safety benefits. However the priority for now is ensuring these standards are disseminated to designers and programmes like the road safety inspection programme (RSI) put into operation. Beyond the design standards introduced for motorways and major interurban routes, this paper includes a section on Ireland’s new urban street standards. Other notable inclusions within the paper relate to the development of credible speed limits for the older legacy rural road network, in a progressive move away from a blanket speed limit based on road function. Ireland will continue to improve its road design standards and much of this work will be informed from Ireland’s participation with research as administrated by Conference of European Directors of Roads (CEDR TG Road Safety)

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