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Merseyside road safety concerns

So-Mo project on pedestrian casualties

Merseyside road safety improvements

Taking action on poor road safety

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So-Mo reports of May 2018: Response by Liverpool Pedestrians Association
So-Mo have completed four reports concerning adult pedestrian casualties in Liverpool.

A response of Liverpool Pedestrians Association (LPA) to these reports has beeen circulated (on 14 May 2018) and can be downloaded from https://www.wacm.org.uk/files/lpa_response_to_so-mo_reports_05-2018.odt.

The text is reproduced below.

So-Mo have completed four reports concerning adult pedestrian casualties in Liverpool. A summary has been published at https://www.so-mo.co.uk/adultpedestriancasualties/2018/4/25/sharing-what-we-found, and the reports are available on request. This is the response of Liverpool Pedestrians Association (LPA) to the reports.

Lack of openness

The reports are funded with public money and so should be published online. It should not be necessary to register to receive the reports.

Poor appreciation of pedestrian experience in Liverpool

Widespread pavement parking; numerous pavement obstacles from clubs, cafes and shops; occasions when resorting to walking in the road is the only option and the frightening experience of being driven at whilst walking on the pavement all go unacknowledged in the reports. However these are adversities Liverpool pedestrians are regularly subjected to.

Tackling pedestrian casualty rates

"There is not any consensus view as to the most effective ways to address this problem.". There is plenty of evidence showing that speed reduction is an effective way to decrease pedestrian deaths. Also, in Liverpool, most fast roads don't have well designed pedestrian crossings.

Use of mobile phones

The analysis about mobile phone use of drivers is weak. The issue of pedestrian use of mobile phones is indicated as a problem whereas the greater danger from phone use at the wheel of a motor vehicle is acknowledged but still included. The police rarely check whether mobile phones were used when a collision occurs.

Speeding offences

So-Mo acknowledges the weakness regarding police failure to check vehicle speed after collisions but still includes it in the analysis. They report collisions in 20mph and 30mph roads without any data on the actual speeds (which are always higher!)

Exclusion of children from the reports

The lack of consideration given to children is very concerning. Taking into account the needs of youngsters and other vulnerable road users helps create safer streets for everyone, not just adult pedestrians.

Contradictions

In the Options report, So-Mo suggests that "chances of behaviour intervention being successful and replicable are high" (as opposed to infrastructure changes: speed reductions; better pedestrian crossings; more pedestrianised areas). Could So-Mo please provide evidence for this conclusion?
In the Data report (p.14) there is the suggestion that behavioural interventions are inadequate. “Calls to action which require sustained attention, retention of complex messages or require exercise of consistent restraint are unlikely to be successful.” Yet this has been the focus of the project.

No sign that our concerns have been taken into account

After the 16 March meeting, we circulated our concerns about the project to all attendees - see https://wacm.org.uk/89.html. There is no sign in the May reports that these have been considered. We are particularly concerned about the following.

Concerns about the remit of the project: At the March meeting, it was clearly stated that the project was limited to behavioural interventions. The Vice Chair of the Road Safety Partnership has since stated that infrastructure interventions will be considered [1]. This confusion needs to be eliminated. The remit has still not been circulated to all stakeholders (despite a request), and this needs to be done now.
"The intention of this report is to provide road safety practitioners in Liverpool with a full understanding of collisions involving adult pedestrians and equip them with the tools to target the issues." Is this the remit? If so, can So-Mo explain why they think this has been achieved?

Adherence to scientific standards: There are established criteria for assessing whether project reports are suitable for publication in peer-reviewed journals [2]. These include the following questions
  • Was the objective of the study sufficiently described?
  • Was the conclusion drawn from the statistical analysis justified?
But the So-Mo reports omit a clear statement of the research question, and many of the conclusions (or 'insights') cannot be justified from the analysis carried out, e.g.
  • "Driver and pedestrian behaviours alter when deliberate eye-contact is established"
  • "Many taxi drivers are driving at a sub optimal level due to fatigue."
  • the conclusions on cocaine use and mobile phones.
Because of this, the So-Mo reports would not be acceptable for publication.

Interventions that should be considered
There is a consensus that reducing vehicle numbers, reducing vehicle speeds, and improving crossings all reduce pedestrian casualties, but this is missing from the So-Mo reports. These interventions have an established place in reducing pedestrian casualties, and should be mentioned first in any proposed solutions to Liverpool's exceptionally high numbers of pedestrian casualties.

References

[1] Minutes of meeting on 27 March 2018.
[2] Use of check lists in assessing the statistical content of medical studies (1986) British medical Journal 292 810-812.





Last updated: 19 Jun 2018