Agenda item

Road Safety Inquiry

To receive the report in the name of the Director of City Development to inform the Board’s exploration of road safety concerns in Leeds.


Additional information for participants: The Board has scheduled two meetings to examine this subject of which this is the first. It is intended that the attached summary of Casualty Reduction Activity in Leeds will inform the discussion at both of those scheduled meetings.


The report of the Director of City Development highlighted the following:


·  An outline of the current approach to reduce the number of casualties on the public highway and thus to support the Best Council Plan.

·  The national and regional strategies to be considered and acknowledged in our road safety plans.

·  The new approach to road safety, Vision Zero and outline the timeline to produce and adopt the strategy and action plan.


An appendix to the report ‘Casualty Reduction Activity in Leeds’ was to be the focus of the Board’s attention.


The following were in attendance for this item:


-  Councillor Helen Hayden, Executive Member

-  Gillian McLeod, Transport Development Service Manager

-  Lynsey McGarvey, Principal Transport Planner

-  Inspector Nick Berry – West Yorkshire Police

-  Chief Inspector Andrew Loftus – West Yorkshire Police

-  Chief Superintendent Edward Chesters – West Yorkshire Police

-  Paul Jeffery, Partnership & Innovation Manager, Casualty Prevention Bureau

-  Ian Greenwood, Road Safety Campaigner & Researcher Institute of Transport Studies

-  Vicky Franks, Safer & Sustainable Travel Team Leader


Issues discussed included the following:


·  Work on casualty reduction activity had not been as intensive over the past two years due to the pandemic.

·  Recorded KSI figures have increased.  This is partly due to changes in the way that figures are recorded. A new system called CRASH now automatically assigns a severity classification to casualties, rather than relying upon an officer specification. Where CRASH has been adopted in other areas there has been a significant increase in the proportion of casualties reported as “serious.”

·  Development of Vision Zero – a draft strategy and action plan will be considered by Executive Board in December 2021 with a period of public consultation in early 2022.

·  Changes to reporting KSI figures have been well received from the perspective of presenting more accurate and consistent information about road traffic collisions – the new system will provide improved data and intelligence when fully implemented.  More focus on demographics and more detailed information on issues such as causes and types of injury are anticipated to assist with the delivery of prevention and enforcement measures.

·  Use of pro lasers – attendees discussed challenges with the allocation of resources and the process of training staff to use pro lasers.  Neighbourhood Policing Teams did have trained staff and there had been good results when pro lasers have been deployed.  Hot spot areas are targeted.

·  Speeding was a main issue of concern with regards to road safety for Ward Councillors, along with a perceived lack of enforcement, particularly in 20mph areas.

·  There was recognition that multiple challenging priorities for partners had led to a decrease in the visibility of road policing in a number of policing regions.  The local, regional and national profile of road policing is increasing.

·  The Police provided reassurance that the force recognises the potential for some anti-social behaviours prevalent amongst young people to escalate, and therefore they endorse early prevention and intervention measures to encourage behaviour change

·  There was a commitment to support a system wide programme of change in the region’s approach to road safety, as set out in the Vision Zero approach.

·  The Vision Zero approach would see changes to how enforcement is carried out with responsibility not just falling on the Police.  Technological advancements and in vehicle technology could provide more cost-effective enforcement.

·  Attendees explored ways in which to establish more local road safety focussed partnerships to encourage behaviour change locally – with a possible role for Community Committees identified. The local partnership model currently used to address anti-social behaviour was highlighted as an example of effective practice.

·  The structure of road traffic policing was discussed with a distinction drawn between the specialist Roads Policing Team to cover the entire force and lower levels of enforcement responded to through local teams.

·  Data from Speed Indication Devices (SIDs) was discussed, including examples of how captured data is then used to inform decision making.  Static and mobile devices were discussed and members also explored the use and effectiveness of SIDs and community speedwatch initiatives.

·  The Traffic Engineering team do survey areas where there are issues with speeding.

·  The implementation of Active Travel Neighbourhoods aims to reduce rat running and speeding. The consequences and challenges of these schemes were debated.

·  Partners emphasised the importance of education and influencing attitudes and behaviours to road safety.  It was noted drug driving had become as common place as drink driving. 

·  Use of handheld devices has also become a significant problem. A view was expressed that current legislation has now been overtaken by the technological development of smart devices and an increasingly wide range of uses for personal devices. This creates challenges for officers attempting to secure convictions for misuse. Behaviour change programmes will be looked at as part of Vision Zero.

·  Use of the road network for other criminal activity was debated.

·  Installation of retrofitted traffic management schemes in 20mph zones.

·  Roads selected for casualty reduction projects were chosen based on information from reviews and speed surveys.

·  The legislation regarding the use of mobile and held devices was to be reviewed.  The Board was informed of recent initiatives to tackle the use of handheld and mobile devices.

·  The need for more discussion with developers regarding planning applications and the impact on traffic. 

·  The use of mobile devices by hackney carriage and private hire drivers and also delivery vehicles.

·  Vision Zero methodology focussed on promoting safe behaviours and casualty prevention.  This was any kind of behaviour that may distract someone when driving.

·  The use of publicity to promote key messages relating casualty prevention.

·  Static and mobile speed cameras did not attract any grant funding and have to be self-sustaining.  Previously there has been support from government grants for the purchase of equipment and running of the back-office operation.

·  The West Yorkshire Casualty Prevention Partnership has retained the criteria for the siting of speed cameras. There has to be an evidence base for the siting of cameras.  The guidance available does not give proactive opportunity to site cameras where there is indicative evidence of need, which currently limits where cameras could be deployed.  The partnership had contacted the Department for Transport regarding a change in the threshold for the criteria for the siting of cameras to take more account of indicative risk.  An update on this was expected before the end of 2021.

·  Concern that Councillors had been excluded from the process of reviewing the criteria for the siting of speed cameras.

·  Local Authorities are responsible through Highways for the siting of cameras.

·  There has been some modernisation of cameras across the district.

·  Average cost of installing a speed camera was between £26k and £40k.  In addition to this there were running costs and back-office costs.

·  Highways are supportive of acquiring additional cameras and sites and of securing changes to the current criteria to achieve this.

·  Evaluation was currently being undertaken on enforcement work around school streets.  There had been positive feedback from residents and schools.

·  The use of average speed cameras in West Yorkshire was being explored.

·  School Crossing Patrols – these could be reviewed on request and it was hoped to carry out a full review under Vision Zero.

·  Request for criteria relating to pedestrian crossings.


RESOLVED – That the report and discussion be noted

Supporting documents: