New road signs are appearing throughout South Northamptonshire as part of a rural road safety initiative.
The signs let drivers know they are entering a rural road safety zone as part of the Rightracks project which aims to reduce road casualties on rural roads in Northamptonshire.
As a rural Beacon Authority for road safety excellence, Northamptonshire County Council, as part of its work in the Casualty Reduction Partnership, has been awarded £1.5 million from the Department for Transport to fund the project, which is investigating the problems facing drivers on rural roads.
The Rightracks project aims to develop innovative strategies, interventions and solutions by evaluating the data behind the casualty problem on the county’s rural road network.
An area in South Northants was chosen for the project following detailed collision analysis. The zone includes 54 villages of varying sizes, as well as Towcester and Brackley on the periphery of the zone.
John Spencer, Casualty Reduction Partnership Manager for Northamptonshire County Council, said: “By managing speed downwards we are aiming to reduce the number of collisions within the Rightracks zone and enhance the day-to-day lives of those who live in the community. The Rightracks signage is unfamiliar to most road users and will therefore attract more attention as a timely reminder to drive safely and with consideration for others.”
He continues: “One of our priorities is to ensure the local community is consulted throughout the whole process, after all we do not have a monopoly on all the good ideas. As such we have set up a Rightracks forum with members of the public living in the zone. Forum members have been invited to drive along the eight priority roads we have identified for action in the zone and offer their ideas on how we can improve the routes.”
Colin Macklin, Rightracks forum member and Aynho parish councilor for highways and transport, said: “We have been actively campaigning for the past few years over the worsening situation on the B4100 and B4031 leading in to Aynho. Many drivers treat both roads like a race track, putting our villagers and other drivers lives at risk. I’m pleased to take part in the Rightracks forum as consulting with the community is a core facet of the programme and we have been able to put our ideas forward on how to address the problems in the area.”
Fellow Rightracks forum member, Councillor Rosie Herring said: “I’m delighted to take part in the Rightracks forum as local people are being given the opportunity to help find innovative ways to reduce road casualties. South Northants Council is committed to doing everything they can to assist with the Rightracks project.”
The Rightracks project will run for three years and involve staff from throughout the Northamptonshire Casualty Reduction Partnership. At the end of the three-year project, the results will be shared with other local authorities. Northamptonshire County Council is one of only four authorities across the country chosen to take part in the project.
Cllr Bob Seery, county council cabinet member for transport and highways, said: “This is another initiative aimed at addressing the issue of improving road safety, this time particularly directed at the rural areas of the county, which I fully endorse.
It is clearly of a somewhat experimental nature, being no doubt the reason for the funding having been provided by the Department for Transport, but the lessons learnt should be of value for the whole of the county.
“The local consultations which are being carried out are essential for that purpose and I look forward with interest to the outcome of this exercise and the lessons learnt as a result.”
More information about the project can be found online at www.rightracks.co.uk