Project: Cross-modal safety: Risk and public perceptions

Reference: SO807V3

Last update: 03/09/2008 11:22:50


The aim of the project can be divided into 2 key themes:

(A) to provide a better understanding of how risk is assessed, and how this risk assessment is used to inform policy making across the different modes.

(B) to give an insight into people's perception of transport risk relative to their actual risk, with a view to exploring how behaviour can be influenced.

The key objectives are:

For Theme A

. To identify how risk is assessed for each mode of transport. This is likely to involve identifying what principles and techniques of risk analysis (ALARP etc) are used for each mode and what values of life (or value of life years lost) are used.

. To explore how risk assessment feeds back into safety policy and practice in each mode

. To identify the key areas of difference and similarity in approach between the modes and to explain any underlying reasons for these

. To give some specific examples of good practice, where proper risk assessment has led to successful safety interventions

. To assess whether there are any elements of good practice that could be transferred between the modes

. To consider whether there would be any benefit in developing a unified approach, or a more harmonised approach to risk assessment across the modes

For Theme B

. To examine public perceptions of the risk of travelling by different modes and provide an understanding of influencing factors. This might include investigating:

o which modes (including cycling and walking) are believed to be the most safe/least safe?
o which types of road are believed to be the most or least safe?
o which accident factors are believed to be the most/least important for each mode?
o which types of road user are understood to be the most/least safe? Eg child pedestrians, motorcyclists, young drivers?
o why do people hold the views they do - what are their key influences?
o the extent to which people are prepared to accept certain restrictions in order to improve transport safety

. To assess whether providing information about transport risk in different ways (eg risk per hour or per journey) would be likely to lead people to make different choices about their travel.

. To provide an understanding of how and why people seem prepared to tolerate a higher level of risk in road transport than for other modes


The aim of the project is to get a better understanding of how risk is assessed across the different transport modes, to explore any similarities and differences, to look at examples of best practice and to assess the potential benefits of taking a more harmonised approach.

The study will also assess how transport safety risks are perceived by the travelling public. It will investigate what influences people's perceptions, and how these influences can be affected.


TRL Limited
Crowthorne House, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3GA
+44 (0)1344 773131

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £81,491.00

Actual start date: 01 August 2008

Expected completion date: 30 June 2010