The Road Safety Trust showcase event
On 17 May 2018, the Road Safety Trust held an event to showcase five of the projects it has funded since the Road Safety Trust started its grant-giving programme in 2016.
The purpose of the event was to enable the road safety community to find out more about the Road Safety Trust and the types of project it has funded to date. We wanted to give our grantees the opportunity to tell people more about their projects and to meet each other with a view to closer working and communication within the sector. Approximately 70 people came to the half day showcase in central London and overall feedback was positive – below you will find the powerpoint presentations used by grantees (with their permissions for sharing), a short video capturing the day, and a write up of the event.
We are keen to share learning from the projects we are funding. If you would value the Road Safety Trust holding similar events in future, then please do email us on email@example.com and we will keep you abreast of any plans to do so.
Emphasising the broad scope of Road Safety Trust’s funding
Hosted by outgoing chief executive Rob Gifford, the event also offered the opportunity for guests to meet the Trust’s new chief executive, Sally Lines OBE, during her first week in post.
Rob Gifford, assisted by trustee Kate McMahon OBE and grants manager Louise Palomino, provided an overview of the Trust’s recent activity before handing over to a varied line-up of academics, advocates and researchers who have led – or continue to lead – Trust-funded projects.
Wheels Skills and Thrills 2
Professor Alan Tapp from the University of the West Of England, gave an overview of his Wheels Skills and Thrills 2 (WST2) project. He explained later the challenges of engaging with young male drivers. “The project is risky in a number of ways. We are dealing with high-risk young men who are not easy to recruit and retain, they don’t keep diaries, they don’t keep appointments, the insurance industry often doesn’t ensure them, and that makes a clear profile of high-risk individuals we’re dealing with.”
Alan’s team works closely with Bristol Advanced Motorists, whose representative Tony Gilbert explained the importance of a positive approach in dealing with the young men. “They all think of themselves as excellent drivers,” he told us. “So what we try to do is not challenge that perception but bring it closer to reality by giving them increased skills that match how good they think they are. We found by handling it sensitively and using the correct behavioural change techniques we have been able to bring those two things closer together in an engaging way that those participants want to take part in. They actually like the intervention and what it gives them.
Keir Haines of Designability, a Bath-based charity, explained the FLOURISH project that considered design requirements to enable use of connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) by older people with a disability. He explained how much he had appreciated the hands-on way the Trust had operated during the project. “We have had members of the Trust come along to our events every year and they have been really enthusiastic to understand what we have been doing. They are always interested in ensuring that the work we do meets the requirements. To be able to invite RST members to these events and to have them come along with such interest is fantastic. We don’t often see that through other funders, and I have had more touch points on this project than I’ve ever had with a funder, so that’s a real credit to the Trust, I think.”
Road crossing game
Dr Catherine Purcell from the University of South Wales presented her team’s road crossing educational computer ‘game’ for primary schools. “Why are children so vulnerable on our roads?” she asked. “And who is responsible for teaching children road safety?
“Preventable road traffic collisions represent the second largest cause of death for children aged five to 14 worldwide. Using virtual reality to teach road safety can improve real-world crossing behaviour. But in order to interact with the world, you have to move. That formed the basis of the game we devised.”
Residential road safety
After the break, Scott Davidson of TRL Ltd gave details of the development and trial of a community-led intervention to improve residential road safety. Central to this was recruiting volunteer resident groups to work on making changes to the streets where they lived. “We will look at these streets two or three months after installation of planter boxes and other furniture designed to slow traffic down,” he said. “We were confident that traffic will slow down in the days immediately after implementation of changes, but what behaviour would we see later on?
“We also have the chance to look at the secondary benefits of the project, including improvements in air quality and an enhanced community feeling of safety.”
David Davies and Katy Harrison from the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety provided updates on two projects funded by the Trust. ‘Seizing the Opportunities’ was the very first Trust project to report its findings, while a more recent project to provide better understanding of suicide issued on UK roads has already led to new, more accurate reporting mechanisms, according to David Davies.
“As a result of the project, we drew up 10 recommendations, including guidance for the police to record suicides and attempted suicides more accurately, and getting the Department of Health to acknowledge this in their strategy. We try to take the approach of a Select Committee where there is a very tangible call for action.”
Rob Gifford had the opportunity to reflect on possible future pathways for the Road Safety Trust. “When a research project comes to an end, what happens? Will it achieve something beyond a report? Where is the Road Safety Trust going? What must we now do? Should we be steering applicants to more specific areas? Today has given us the chance to think about these things.
“After all, we have a responsibility, as staff and trustees, to ensure the projects we support make a real difference.
“Although we may have some of the safest roads in the world, there are still too many deaths and injuries that are preventable. In addition, as the balance of road use changes with both an ageing population and an increase in connected and autonomous vehicles, new road safety challenges will emerge.
“Our challenge over the next few years will be to measure the impact of these, and all our projects, and to use the conclusions to help reduce death and injuries on our roads.”