The Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) is mandated to manage road safety engineering through its Road Safety Engineering Unit in the Road Safety Directorate.
Road Safety Engineering relates to measures specifically designed to improve safety on the road network through infrastructure engineering interventions.
The Road Traffic Act No. 11 of 2002 provides for the Agency (as some of the functions):
- “In consultation with the Road Development Agency established under the Public Roads Act, establish road safety standards to be observed in the construction of roads and during the maintenance of such roads”;
- Review and publish reports on road safety measures that may be considered by the Road Development Agency during the planning, designing and building of new roads and the upgrading of existing roads in order to promote orderly traffic flow and the creation of road safety consciousness amongst all road users.
Though the Road Safety Engineering Unit, the Agency recommends to the Road Development Agency and the Local Authorities measures aimed at improving the safety of road networks for the benefit of all road users, especially the most vulnerable: pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Activities include improving the safety-conscious planning, design, construction and operation of roads; making sure that roads are regularly assessed for safety; and encouraging relevant authorities to consider all forms of transport and types of safe infrastructure when they respond to the mobility needs of road users.
In this regard the Road Safety Engineering Unit carries out Road Safety Audits (RSAs) and Road Safety Inspections (RSIs).
A Road Safety Audit (RSA) is a formal procedure for independent assessment of the accident potential and likely safety performance of a specific design for a road or traffic scheme – whether new construction or an alteration to an existing road. The principle behind it is that ‘prevention is better than cure’. Road user error is the major cause of road accidents, but defects in the road environment (poor alignment, inadequate signing, dangerous obstacles, etc.) are a contributory factor in many cases. Remedying these defects at the design stage is an economic and effective way of reducing road accidents and preventing injury.
Road Safety Audits assess how the road will work once open to use by traffic, focusing on the safety of road users – including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. A Road Safety Audit Report identifies any road safety deficiencies in the design stage and recommends ways in which these could be overcome.
Road Safety Inspection (RSI)
A Road Safety Inspection (RSI) is a formal safety performance examination of an existing road. It qualitatively estimates and reports on potential road safety issues and identifies opportunities for improvement in safety for all road users.