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Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Northamptonshire County Council (RTS 142)



  In July 1999 a local Casualty Reduction Strategy was launched in Northamptonshire with the aim "to provide safer roads within the county, whereby the current levels of death and serious injury resulting from road collisions are significantly reduced".

  The strategy is based upon four key principles:

    —  Partnership approach.

    —  Intelligence led activity.

    —  Maximising community involvement.

    —  Investment in technology.

  As part of this strategy the Northamptonshire Police, Magistrates' Courts, and County Council, on behalf of the Northamptonshire Partnership, produced a business case for a safety camera hypothecation project that was approved by DETR and launched as one of eight pilot projects across the country in April 2000.


  A Steering Group that has representatives of the Police, County Council, Highways Agency, Magistrates' Court and Health Authority meets every quarter to oversee the Casualty Reduction Strategy.

  At an operational level, a User Implementation Group comprising of staff from all the agencies within the Partnership, plus representatives of local councils, meets every month to organise casualty reduction activity in the county.

  This co-ordinated approach is recognised by all the partners as a key factor in Northamptonshire's success in reducing casualty levels.


  An intelligence led approach is used to identify locations for remedial action. Through the analysis of collision data we focus on three key areas:

    —  Identifiable sites/routes.

    —  Common causation factors.

    —  Specific road user groups.

  The road network in Northamptonshire has been categorised according to the number and severity of collisions occurring over a three-year period. The classification allows for county roads to be designated either:

    Red—those sites/routes requiring full collision and casualty profiling and focused activity.

    Amber—those sites/routes requiring close monitoring to ensure that effective measure can be taken to prevent an escalation to a red site.

    Green—those sites/routes that do not have serious problems and require little or no attention at the present time.

  All of the routes receiving a "red" classification are subjected to a process whereby full data analysis and casualty profiling is undertaken on the basis of all collisions reported over a three-year period. This enables action to be taken on a comprehensive basis designed to influence road user attitude and behaviour and reduce the risk of accidents through:

    —  Education.

    —  Enforcement.

    —  Engineering.

  The User Implementation Group determines the appropriateness of applying particular options or a combination of options to a specific site or route. The agreed solutions are targeted to achieve the maximum possible KSI casualty reduction.


  The partnership is keen that casualty reduction and road safety are seen as community issues, rather than the preserve of experts. Therefore the following initiatives have been developed to involve road user groups and individuals

    —  A Road Safety Conference for representatives of road user and community groups, parish, borough and district councils setting out our Casualty Reduction Strategy and seeking their active involvement.

    —  Partnership with Action with Communities in Rural England on "Speed Watch" community scheme. Under this scheme drivers pledge to adhere to speed limits within their villages, whilst the partnership provide anti-speeding poster campaigns, and regular visits from "Speed Indicator Devices" and mobile cameras.

    —  Diversionary speed workshops for drivers as an alternative to a fixed penalty notice and penalty points.

    —  Leaflets have also been produced and distributed to road users explaining the need for measures on red routes, what has been done and the casualty reduction benefits expected.


  The successful achievement of pilot Safety Camera Project status in 1999 allowed the partnership to acquire technological resources to allow the successful enforcement of speed limits in the county for the first time. The key developments have been:

    —  The installation of a network of fixed site cameras.

    —  The acquisition of mobile camera devices and support vehicles.

    —  A new dedicated enforcement team.

    —  Bulk film processing capability.

    —  A new central ticket office with staff, IT and specialist equipment.

    —  Increased staff levels for prosecution support departments.

    —  Increased staff levels and IT provision within the Magistrates Courts.

    —  Increased staff levels for education and marketing strategies.

    —  Increased staff levels for performance monitoring.


  The objectives of the project are:

    —  To demonstrate a reduction in collisions and casualties through additional speed and red light camera enforcement.

    —  To reassure the public that the motivation behind the additional activity is wholly based on collision and casualty reduction.

    —  To bring about a change in driver attitude towards excess speed and thus impact their behaviour.

  The Project seeks to achieve these objectives by integrating an appropriate mix of education and enforcement, combined with a marketing strategy designed to gain the support and endorsement of the community.

  The sites and routes chosen for regular camera activity are all on red of amber routes where profiling indicates KSI casualties as a result of speed. Community support for the Camera Safety Project has been given a high priority so that it is not viewed as a way of generating income.

  A Marketing and Public Relations strategy has been devised to maximise public support for camera enforcement. This has been achieved by clear, consistent and open messages about the project and showing that it is truly a multi-agency approach to a single aim of reducing casualties as a result of vehicle speed. Every opportunity is taken to promote the casualty reduction benefits of the project through local and national media.

  The Safety Camera Project is not a single solution of enforcement cameras. It utilises education, enforcement and engineering solutions to influence behaviour, raise awareness, gain compliance, create a safer environment and reduce casualties.

  Our enforcement approach mixes mobile and fixed site enforcement of speed limits, with 85 per cent of our effort concentrated on Red Route sites. The remaining 15 per cent of enforcement is currently at locations where there is public concern about the speed of vehicles, but not necessarily a serious accident problem.


  Northamptonshire has achieved remarkable progress towards meeting the national casualty reduction targets:

1994-98 average
KSI Casualties
Per cent change

  In addition, when compared to the same baseline:

    —  Child KSI casualties are down 27 per cent.

    —  Pedestrian KSI casualties are down 44 per cent.

    —  Car Occupant KSI casualties are down 33 per cent.

    —  Slight casualties are down 9 per cent.

  At fixed camera sites:

    —  Accidents have fallen by 50 per cent.

    —  KSI casualties have fallen 67 per cent.

  In the county as a whole, detected offences are up from 4,342 in 1999-2000 to 84,127 in 2000-01.

  Of the 18 cameras initially installed in the county, only one site is still recording 85th percentile speeds that exceed the speed limit.

  A survey of local residents conducted by MORI in 2000 reported that:

    —  73 per cent believe that fewer collisions are likely on the roads where cameras are in operation.

    —  75 per cent accept that dangerous drivers are more likely to be caught.

    —  79 per cent believe that cameras are a means of encouraging motorists to stick to the limit.

    —  90 per cent believe speeding is an anti social behaviour.

Jon Shortland BA, DMS

Casualty Reduction Manager

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