29 July 2021 | Innovation

Initial Research Report released on The LASR Approach

The Road Safety Trust, Derby City Council, Enodamus Ltd and XAIS Asset Management Ltd have released a detailed report showcasing its research into developing a new methodology for prioritising Local Authority Skid Resistance.

Available to download now at www.lasr-approach.org, the report concerns a study part-funded by the Road Safety Trust to develop a simple model of the relationship between skid resistance and collision risk for a typical local authority road network.

The intention is to improve the knowledge available to highway engineers and practitioners managing the skid resistance of their networks – knowledge that is essential to adopt a true risk-based approach to asset management.

Localising data-driven decisions

Currently, many authorities base their approach and skid resistance thresholds on those adopted for the Strategic Road Network. In the absence of other information, it is assumed that these values are applicable to local roads, despite the differences in road geometries, junction types, traffic speeds and traffic flow.

The models outlined in the new report are based solely on local authority data. Using the XA© Asset Management system from XAIS, the project team created a dataset including road attributes, skid resistance, collision history (injury collisions from STATS19) and traffic flow.

Alongside Derby City Council, data was supplied by 10 other local authorities: City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Derbyshire County Council, Doncaster Council, Kirklees Council, Leeds City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, North Lincolnshire Council and City of York Council.

Initial Implications

The new model can provide the basis to estimate the benefit of maintenance treatment to improve skid resistance, giving evidence for highway engineers to justify treatment and to aid in the prioritisation of maintenance funding.

The analysis suggests new thresholds for four site categories. With the changes in thresholds, the proposed approach will:

• reduce the number of sites needing investigation
• target treatments at the sites more likely to deliver safety benefits – prioritising roundabouts and de-prioritising junctions, including pedestrian crossings
• require lower skid resistance (except for roundabouts) so different treatments may be possible

Commenting on the release of the report, Kully Boden, Interim Head of Service for Highways at Derby City Council, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to share our initial research and findings with local authority colleagues. If proven through trials, this new approach will facilitate improved outcomes for road users and tax payers by targeting the locations that deliver the greatest safety benefits from skid resistance
treatments.

“This is an evidence base that is bespoke to our network, the methodology is easy to implement and absolutely supports a risk-based approach, as recommended in the Well-Managed Highway Infrastructure Code of Practice: October 2016. We would encourage as many colleagues as possible to download the report, review our findings and look forward to receiving feedback that can help us to shape future
pilots and expand the dataset further.”

The report ‘A new methodology for prioritising Local Authority Skid Resistance’ is available to download now at www.lasr-approach.org – a new online home for the collaboration, which showcases a bespoke brand identity and will be regularly updated with details of events and new developments in the coming months. An email address has been set up for any enquiries: [email protected].