In the early 1990s the Sustainable Safety vision was launched in the Netherlands. The principles are prevention of crashes where possible, and prevention of severe injuries when a crash happens. Sustainable Safety is characterised by a proactive approach treating weak spots in the system before a crash occurs.
The five principles of Sustainable Safety are (1) functionality of the road; (2) homogeneity of masses and/or speed and direction; (3) predictability of road course and road user behaviour by a recognisable road design; (4) forgiveness of the road environment and of road users; and (5) state awareness by the road user.
A goal of Dutch safe road design is to reduce the likelihood that fallible human beings will misread the road. A ‘self-explaining road’, on which the driver is encouraged to naturally adopt behaviour consistent with design and function, originated in the Netherlands.
Self-explaining roads show road users with a clear road layout where they should be and what they should do to maintain safety. Different classes of roads should be distinctive, and within each class features such as width of carriageway, road markings, signing, and use of street lighting should be consistent throughout the route. The environment effectively provides a ‘label’ for the road type thereby lessening the need for separate traffic control devices such as additional traffic signs to regulate traffic behaviour.
Only more recently did Dutch policy makers amend their principles to add the proposition that roads should also be ‘forgiving’, and be capable of protecting road users in the event of a crash.
- Active Member: ANWB (since 2002, Founding Member)
- Authority Members: RWS DVS – Rijkswaterstaat Dienst Verkeer en Scheepvaart (since 2003); Overijssel (since 2011); Gelderland (since 2011)
- Centre of Excellence: SWOV