Star Rating

Star Ratings are based on road inspection data and provide a simple and objective measure of the level of safety ‘built-in’ to the roads for vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists. 5-star roads (green) are the safest, and 1-star (black) are the least safe.

Importantly Star Ratings can be completed without reference to detailed crash data.

Using specially equipped vehicles, software and trained coders, EuroRAP inspections focus on more than 50 different road features that are known to influence the likelihood of a crash and its severity. These features include intersection design, road markings, roadside hazards, footpaths and bicycle lanes.

The Star Rating methodology can be used on a variety of road types and allows individual sections or road networks to be assessed and compared on the same basis. Star Rating is complementary to road safety audits, with Star Rating quickly assessing the general standard of a route, and road safety audits identify detailed deficiencies.

Road Inspections

Road inspections are undertaken in 2 stages
  • Road Survey – A specially equipped survey vehicle records images of the road as it travels along
  • Road Coding – Road features are recorded from image data by coders, according to protocol
The survey vehicle can record digital images of the road (generally at intervals of 5-10 metres) using an array of cameras aligned to pick up panoramic views of the road (forward, left-side and right-side). The images can be calibrated to allow measurements such as lane width, shoulder width and distance to roadside hazards. The vehicles can drive along the road at normal speed while collecting the information.

In 2006, the EuroRAP General Assembly resolved that suppliers should be accredited and licensed by EuroRAP for Star Rating projects approved by active members. The accreditation and accredited supplier list are managed by iRAP centrally on behalf of EuroRAP. The network of accredited road safety professionals and companies capable of competitively bidding to provide high-quality RAP assessments is growing.

Road Coding

Following the completion of the road survey, trained Coders undertake desktop inspections by conducting a virtual drive-through of the road network recording road attributes every 100m.

The attributes include intersection design, number of lanes and markings, roadside hazards, footpaths and bicycle facilities. All attributes record are set out in the iRAP Star Rating coding manual (which can be found on the specifications page). The coding manual can be tailored to a specific country to reflect local variations.

At the completion the road coding data is uploaded to ViDA for validation and processing. From here it is possible to produce a detailed condition report showing the proportion of the different road attributes recorded across a network, for example the paved shoulder widths and the number of locations that have adequate run-off protection. This data forms the basis for Star Ratings and the Safer Road Investment Plan.

Supporting Data

To ensure the project outcomes reflect local conditions, practice and experience, a range of supporting data is sought. Collection of the supporting data is often occurs in parallel the road inspections.
Data on traffic volumes, vehicle mix and operating speeds (85th percentile and mean) on the designated road network are collated if available
If possible road mapping data such as centreline loactions used by the local road authority will be sourced before road inspections begin. This is used to verify the boundaries of the road network and map the locations of road improvements subsequently recommended in the Safer Road Investment Plan
To enable cost estimates for proposed Safer Road Investment Plans SRIPs to be developed, a series of cost estimates for typical projects in the country and on the network will be required. This might include a review of information on the expected life of projects, if available
Where available crash data can provide a useful source of information for model calibration, countermeasure review and performance tracking in the future.

Charges by the Association for Services

In 2006, a Consultation Document entitled “Competition and Quality in Road Inspections” was issued by the Association in a consultation exercise led by the (then) Swedish Road Administration. The purpose of the consultation was to establish arrangements so that fair competition could take place between suppliers in road inspection and scoring work. This is required by public bodies, charities and the policies of many auto clubs. The policies proposed in this document were accepted by the EuroRAP General Assembly.

From 1st January 2011, the Association introduced a scale of charges for processing of road inspections as a fair and efficient way for contributions to the costs of maintaining the Association and its systems. The scale of charges is constructed so that processing charges are not a major cost in relation to the overall cost of projects. The typical processsing charge is €5 per km and all accredited technical suppliers must ensure this charge is included in their tenders to Members to enable proper comparative tender evaluations to take place.

For more information

If you would like to build the capacity to undertake RAP assessments or would like to become an accredited supplier able to tender for RAP projects, please contact:
James Bradford European Development Director james.bradford@eurorap.org