A methodology for systematic diagnosis of accidents in urban areas in Portugal
In Portugal there has been significant improvement of the transport infrastructure and system operation. The interest in and the importance given to road safety have also been increasing over the last few years. However, Portuguese Local Authorities do not have statutory responsibility for road safety and do not address the problem systematically. Fewer than 10% of the 308 Local Authorities have a transport division or department, and of those that do only a few have experience in the area of road safety. The few resources allocated to this problem might explain the high accident rates, in particular compared with other European countries. This study aims to develop a methodology for Portuguese Local Authorities to use which, whilst making good use of the limited human and financial resources allocated to road safety, systematically diagnoses the problem of accidents in urban areas and supports the appropriate implementation of road safety engineering measures. A methodology is developed against the background of existing methods and techniques of urban road safety in Britain and other countries, and of the current Portuguese urban road safety situation. Its applicability is examined in a practical way through a case study in the Portuguese city of Almada. The case study included in-depth quantitative and qualitative analyses of different types of information, identification of road safety problems and objectives for the city, and recognition of possible relevant road safety engineering countermeasures. It is concluded that the methodology, which was adapted in order to accommodate results from the pilot study, has the potential to become a valuable tool for improving road safety in Portuguese urban areas and can have direct relevance to both practitioners and researchers in the road safety field.