This article discusses the influence of human factors on the design of road safety engineering projects and the problems these can cause. There are various factors to be taken into consideration. These include: (a) subjective risk (as observed by the road user as opposed to objective risk) as measured by an accident investigator. A considerable proportion of staff time is spent investigating situations which arouse public anxiety instead of dealing with known accident problems; (b) risk compensation. If an environment is made safer, then less caution will be exercised by the road user. Conversely, if the road environment is made to appear more hazardous than they really are, people will be more careful and the accident rate will be reduced. Some improvements, such as road widening or enhanced street lighting can actually produce an increase in accidents as drivers reduce their level of caution and increase speed. A special form of risk compensation is accident migration, whereby the improvement of road surfacing, or the simplification of a major junction on one site increases the accident rate at adjacent sites as traffic speed increases. Research is advocated which ascertains what the road user was experiencing immediately prior to the accident, such as whether they found their environment stressful and whether they were confused or panicked into hasty judgements and error.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    International Association for Accident and Traffic Medicine

    Huddinge University Hospital Center, Traffic Medicine Center
    Stockholm,   Sweden  141 86
  • Authors:
    • Singleton, D S
  • Publication Date: 1989


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 7-11
  • Serial:
    • Journal of traffic medicine
    • Volume: 17
    • Issue Number: 3-4
    • Publisher: International Association for Accident and Traffic Medicine
    • ISSN: 0345-5564

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00606787
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 31 1991 12:00AM