Issue date: 22 November 2010
A radical and proactive approach to reducing danger on Bristol's roads has been proposed following innovative research from Bristol City Council, NHS Bristol and the University of the West of England (UWE).
The nine-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project looked at ways of reducing road danger, to make pedestrians and cyclists less vulnerable to harm, especially from motorised vehicles. A road danger reduction approach argues that the surest way to improve road safety is to reduce the volume and speed of motorised traffic, while also promoting walking and cycling as means as transport. The approach dove-tails well with the current emphasis on 20mph speed limits for residential streets currently being piloted by Bristol City Council.
KTP Associate Tom Calvert, a recent Master's graduate in Transport Planning, conducted a review of the international literature to identify best practice, interviewed key national figures, spoke with senior officers in Bristol City Council, and undertook an audit of current road safety practice in Bristol.
The report found that some elements of current practice in the council are in harmony with a road danger reduction approach, while others are contrary to it. For example, some efforts to improve road safety can actually discourage walking and cycling.
The report made a number of recommendations, including that the City Council should adopt a road danger reduction approach for Bristol. This vision would be of a city in which it is safe and pleasant to move around, and especially beneficial for those who walk, cycle and use public transport. A city-wide extension of the current pilot 20mph speed limits is assessed as helping to achieve this.
The report has been warmly welcomed by Bristol City Council, NHS Bristol and UWE.
Dr Hugh Annett, Bristol's Director of Public Health said, “Physical activity through walking and cycling is one of the most important ways to improve health. Road danger reduction is integral to making walking and cycling more attractive, safer, and in making Bristol a truly healthy city.”
Dr Jon Rogers, Cabinet Member for Health and Care for Bristol City Council, said,
“This is an excellent report. It indicates how we can further improve road safety while promoting sustainable modes of transport. Encouraging safer, friendlier and healthier ways of getting around our city is the way to go.”
Dr Paul Pilkington, Senior Lecturer in Public Health at UWE, added, “The Knowledge Transfer Partnership has demonstrated the benefits of co-operation between the local council, NHS, and UWE when it comes to ensuring Bristol is a healthy city – in this case, a city where the road environment is safer for all.”
This project received financial support from Bristol City Council, NHS Bristol and the national Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme (KTP).
KTPs aim to help businesses and public organisations improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base. KTP is funded by the Technology Strategy Board along with the other government funding organisations.
For more information on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships visit