While road safety in the EU has improved significantly over the last decades and its roads are considered as the safest in the world, the number of deaths and injuries remains high (see EU Strategic Action Plan on Road Safety).
For this reason, EU has adopted the Vision Zero vision and the Safe System Approach to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on Europe’s roads.
The EU cooperates with the Member States’ authorities on road safety to develop national road safety plans, setting targets and addressing all the factors affecting road accidents (infrastructure, vehicle safety, driver behaviour, emergency response).
In order to promote Member States coordinated action in improving the safety of road infrastructure, especially of those being part of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), EU has issued the Directives:
Road transport in Greece is by a dense rural road network of approx. 48.500 kms, either National or Regional roads.
The 2,100 kms of motorways network follow high safety standards. This fact combined with their good maintenance by their operating companies provide high safety to their users.
However, the same does not apply to the rest of the national and regional road network of the country, the condition of which is in many poor not only with regard to the road surface but in general to all safety characteristics (e.g. geometry, signage, protection elements).
Greece, despite the fact that it is continuously seeking to upgrade the road network, with the support of the EU, and to harmonize its legislative framework with the European Directives (see P.D.104/2011, Government Gazette 3134/Β ́/27-11-2012), it still needs to cover a long distance for the desired result.
The upgrade of road sections with important safety issues, concentrating a large number of road accidents, deaths and serious injuries (such as the Northern Road Axis of Crete – VOAK) should be a high priority at local and national level.
See the safety assessment of the TEN-T road network in Greece by Make Roads Safe Hellas and the SENSoR project.
Safe road infrastructure or otherwise its ability to forgive human errors (ref. forgiving road infrastructure) play an important role in reducing the number and consequences of road accidents.
Scientific research has proven that the safety of a road is related by a large number of factors including the design characteristics (e.g. road geometry, built-in safety means), the condition of the road surface, the environment of the road, the signage and the operating speed.
Road Safety Audits (RSA) is the process in which an independent person or team with appropriate qualifications investigates the possibility of road accidents and the level of road safety for all users in a road or traffic project under study or on an existing road.
The RSA is performed by a certified Road Safety Auditors or by a team of experts.
According to the national legislation in force (Government Gazette 1694 Β ́/13-6-2016, FDK 2905Β ́/22-8-2017), the Auditor must have attended road safety training and have received a certificate of competence from the Directorate of Road Infrastructure Safety of the General Secretariat for Infrastructure.
The EuroRAP Program has been implemented in more than 90 countries around the world for the inspection and evaluation of road infrastructure safety and the determination of practical, cost-effective interventions to improve road infrastructure. The evaluation utilizes internationally recognized protocols for the inspection and analysis of more than 50 parameters that are proven to contribute significantly to road accidents.
Make Roads Safe Hellas is an expert member of EuroRAP, promotes, manages and implements road evaluation programs in Greece and other countries of Europe and Central Asia.
The implementation of regular Road Safety Audits on the entire national and regional road network is necessary for the systematic assessment the safety status, the prioritization of the necessary maintenance and the resources allocation for the upgrade of the network’s safety.
The efforts to standardize RSA activities and develop methodology for safety assessments in a way that will ensure homogeneity and reduce subjectivity has been particularly intense over the last 20 years. The EuroRAP/ iRAP protocols have been recognized in the EU and in many countries worldwide as appropriate and valid for the assessment of road infrastructure safety. However, it is important that the application of these protocols or any other methodology for the evaluation of the infrastructure’s safety, is accompanied by a detailed investigation of the other parameters that contribute to the safety of the users, such as the analysis of road users behavior, the communication of the program's objectives, the information and training or the level of traffic law enforcement. The National and local road authorities should make use of the international experience. Make Roads Safe Hellas with extensive experience in managing and implementing large-scale road assessment programs, can support the effort of Authorities to assess and upgrade the safety of the road network that they supervise. Read more about Make Roads Safe Hellas experience in managing and implementing road assessment programs.