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The City of Amsterdam is preparing a new Strategic Plan for Road Safety. The Plan should help to reduce the number of road accidents taking into account that new safety issues in Amsterdam are mostly linked to the fight for limited space.
Amsterdam's impressive annual growth counts 10,000 inhabitants, 5000 jobs, 450.000 tourists and 2500 new students. Additionally, more and more events are being organized in Amsterdam that add to increasing pressure on public space. This also has implications for road safety, especially for vulnerable road users like cyclists, including children and the increasing elderly population, as well as pedestrians.
In general, road safety is a precondition in all infrastructure projects of the municipality. Additionally, national ‘Sustainable Safety’ guidelines were processed under the guidance of the Central Transport Commission (CVC), forming the basis of road design in Amsterdam. More than 90 per cent of accidents are caused by unsafe behaviour. Therefore, an important pillar is traffic education such as coherent road safety programs in all primary and secondary schools. In general, policy-making processes in Amsterdam change from a reactive to a more proactive approach to traffic safety.
The taken measures focus on improving the most dangerous intersections (black spots) and roads (red routes). An assessment instrument that focuses on the infrastructure in Amsterdam is the Network Safety Index (NSI). it helps with identifying potential dangerous spots, like obstacles on bike paths or a separate bicycle lane alongside a 50 km/h road. Safety Performance Indicators (SPIs) are expected to give the city of Amsterdam the opportunity to monitor the development of road safety in key areas. By analyzing the evolution, recorded in an annual progress report (dashboard), substantial savings of casualties are meant to be achieved. According to Eric de Kievit, Senior Consultant Transport and Traffic Research in Amsterdam, the use of SPIs shall allow a more efficient use of budget for road safety.
This insight has been published in the 'Thinking Cities' magazine, a joint publication of Polis and H3B Media. Issue 5, November/2015, page 60