Safety Campaign Cont
NMU Review Cont. Sections 9 & 10
9 DISCUSSION OF LONGER TERM ISSUES
The short and medium term measures listed above will go some way to improving safety and usability of the routes for NMUs. If the recommendations are implemented users should find the routes more comfortable, with a greater level of continuity and connectivity, and have more confidence that they can travel trough Tore to origins and destinations beyond the village. Some of the specific measures – for example
introducing street lighting on the south side of the roundabout – should increase NMUs’ perception of safety as they use the routes.
Ultimately, however, these measures cannot mask the fact that the A9 severs the community of Tore, a situation maybe exemplified best by the fact that children in the east side of the village currently choose to travel short distances by car, taxi or minibus to attend their local school.
In addition, whilst improvements to existing at grade uncontrolled crossings might improve usability and make some users feel safer, the fact will remain that if a pedestrian or cyclist is struck whilst crossing the A9, particularly on the south side, they are likely to be killed or seriously injured.
There is a development proposal for the local area entitled “TR2 Tore North”. This outlines an opportunity post 2021 for 460 houses together with commercial, industrial and community development including a new primary school.
In the long term it may be possible to include further improvements to NMU routes within any future development proposals. This could include installing a controlled crossing, or introducing grade separation – a footbridge (as suggested within the outline proposal) or an underpass. It would be highly improbable that a bypass to the village (and subsequent downgrade of the A9) would be at all feasible.
9.2 Controlled Crossing
A light controlled crossing would provide an increased perception of safety for NMUs and enable them to cross without conflict as long as they conformed to the push button instructions and traffic stopped for them. Both north and south sides would require a toucan if cyclists were to be able to cross without dismounting. Preliminary measurements of footways, carriageway and central reserves suggest that there is insufficient space within the existing arrangements to accommodate such a crossing on either side of the roundabout and therefore surveys would need to be undertaken, and land, (some of which may not be highway land), would need to be acquired.
A light controlled crossing on the south side would be subject to high northbound approach speeds, and to southbound traffic accelerating away from the roundabout.
Speeds on the north side would be lower, but free flow southbound (downhill) speeds could be a problem. In each case speed discrimination, high mast signals, and extensive high friction surfacing would be required as minimum additional features to the crossing itself.
The problem with a light controlled crossing is that it wouldn’t guarantee either NMU safety or convenience. New crossings sometimes generate a suppressed demand for crossing movements, leading to an occurrence of collisions (NMU and/or vehicle shunts) where previously there were none. In a situation where there are currently no injury collisions involving NMUs, a conventional road safety cost benefit analysis would not demonstrate any benefit. In addition, NMUs who do wait for their appropriate phase could be delayed for as long if not longer than at present, due to the traffic
levels approaching the crossing.
9.3 Grade separation
Grade separation would remove the conflict points between NMUs and motor vehicles at the crossing points. It could be achieved with an underpass or a footbridge. In each case appropriate gradient ramps would be required for cyclists and wheelchair users making this option more demanding of space than a controlled crossing. In order to ensure compliance by NMUs, access to the A9 at-grade would need to be removed – potentially a problem on the south side as the bus stops would require access too.
The advantage of a footbridge on the north side is that by removing the severance that the A9 presents, the east side school pupils would be able to walk to school, with sustainable travel benefits into the long term.
However, grade separation does have its problems as journey times are likely to be increased for NMUs as they would need to negotiate ramps and/or steps, which would invariably lead to a detour to the access points. In addition, the ramps and steps could be cumbersome and difficult for mobility impaired pedestrians, such as wheelchair users. Some pedestrians may continue to cross at grade and any scheme would need to close the existing crossing and encourage users to use the new facility.
Underpasses can lead to personal security issues for NMUs, particularly at night, as there is no natural surveillance by other road users. Therefore, they are currently not a favoured option in urban areas. Overbridges on the other hand can be unsightly and the environmental impact would need to be considered as part of any feasibility study.
9.4 Prioritisation of north vs south side improvements
The north side would provide better access for primary school children walking to school, and for cyclists on NCN1. Speeds are lower here, which is important if a controlled crossing is being considered.
The south side would provide better access for those using the bus stops and may cater for a greater number of non primary school residents.
Should longer term improvements become feasible, it is recommended that surveys are undertaken to determine NMU use both in terms of numbers, and age and type of user. This will determine which side of the roundabout has highest current demand, and by which road user. In addition consultation should be undertaken to ascertain suppressed demand for trips. For example, a survey could be carried out within Tore Primary School amongst pupils, teachers and parents to determine whether children would walk to school if a controlled crossing or footbridge was provided on the northern side.
9.5 Discussion of speed limits
The speed limit south of Tore is 70mph, with a 60mph limit to the north and west (national default limits), and 40mph to the east. According to the TMS “snap shot” surveys the roundabout itself reduces speeds from the national limits down to 40-50+ mph. This is because the geometry of the roundabout, together with the circulating traffic, acts as a natural speed reducer. However, these speeds, whilst reduced from 60-70mph, would still cause fatal or serious injury to a non-motorised user if struck by
a motor vehicle.
Any reduction in speed limits at this location would need to take into account the nature of the road environment, police enforcement responsibilities, and other issues.
The position of the review team is that any change in speed limit at Tore is still likely to be at a level where speeds could still cause fatal or serious injuries where collisions involve NMUs. The review team therefore are not proposing any changes to limits at this time.
Subsequent to completing the site observations, the Review Team has obtained the results of the speed limit review undertaken by Transport Scotland. This review states that:
“In August 2006 the Scottish Government issued guidance titled 'Setting Local Speed Limits' which outlined the framework for road authorities to determine speeds on all A & B class roads (i.e not including motorways) so that they are consistent, understood by drivers and appropriate for the environment and circumstances of their use.
Speed limits give road users information about the nature of the road and risks posed to them and other road users. It is important that speed limits are clear to all road users so that they can easily travel at the safe speed. Consistent limits also encourage drivers to comply and travel safely, rather than treating the limit as their target speed.
Transport Scotland instructed its Operating Companies to undertake a review of
existing speed limits on the trunk road network, and this review was concluded in 2012.”
With specific reference to the A9 in the vicinity of Tore Roundabout, and the A835 from Tore Roundabout to Maryburgh, the review stated that “given the character, the mean speed and accident rates, the assessment concluded that the (existing) speed limit is appropriate.
The Review Team accepts these findings
10 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
10.1 This review has examined facilities for Non-Motorised Road Users (NMUs) at Tore Roundabout and within the village of Tore. The purpose has been to examine the issues faced by NMUs, and to make recommendations to improve conditions for NMUs in terms of safety, comfort, convenience, continuity and connectivity of routes, and with respect to coherence within a wider network.
10.2 Collision data supplied by BEAR has been reviewed as part of the study. There were no reported injury collisions involving NMUs during a seven year period within the study area.
10.3 Existing facilities for NMUs have been established through a series of site visits and are described within the report. There are two uncontrolled crossing points on the A9, one to the south of the roundabout, and one to the north.
10.4 Concerns regarding safety and speed of traffic put forward by the local community council have been considered as part of the review. The main concern expressed was in relation to the risks of crossing the A9 trunk road.
10.5 The Review Team has collected data regarding traffic flows and speeds to provide a “snap shot” of traffic conditions at different times of day. The counts included NMU movements across the A9, comparatively few of which were observed. However, these short counts do not constitute representative samples, but serve to highlight some of the issues faced by residents and others as they cross the A9. (The findings from the TMS traffic counts were supported by data obtained from Transport Scotland formal traffic counts).
10.6 The A9 severs the community of Tore. Traffic on that route presents a significant risk of fatal or serious injury to pedestrians and cyclists if they choose to cross the A9, due to the speed and type of vehicles involved. Whilst this issue is more severe on the south (dual carriageway) side, it is not insignificant on the north side.
10.7 In addition to the risks posed by the A9, the severance contributes to poor levels of service for NMUs attempting to travel from one side of the community to the other.
Issues of comfort, continuity and connectivity are compromised through this severance. Perhaps the best example of this is the fact that local children currently do not walk small distances to school, instead they travel by mini-bus, taxi, and car – clearly not a “sustainable” travel option.
10.8 The combination of risk from traffic and poor levels of service may lead to suppressed demand for walking and cycling within the village of Tore.
10.9 A risk and “usability” assessment of the northern and southern routes has been carried out. The northern route is assessed as medium risk for both pedestrians and cyclists, and as poor in terms of NMU usability. The southern route is assessed as high risk for both pedestrians and cyclists, and as poor-average in terms of NMU usability.
10.10 A series of relatively low cost short and medium term recommendations have been proposed in order to improve safety and usability. It is recommended that these are adopted and incorporated within spending programmes within the next 12-18 months, and that steps are taken to acquire any necessary land where this is required. These recommendations are presented in table form in Appendix A.
10.11 Future development may present additional longer term opportunities for improvements in NMU facilities. There is no guarantee that the short and medium measures will completely remove risk, or radically improve usability, due to the fact that the A9 will still carry high levels of fast moving traffic in conflict with NMUs at uncontrolled crossings. The options of controlled crossings and grade separation, have been discussed within the report.
10.12 Finally, TMS Consultancy accepts the findings of the Transport Scotland speed limit review at Tore. Whilst a reduction in speed is desirable, any speed limit imposed is unlikely to reduce speed to a level that would significantly reduce risks to NMUs struck by motor vehicles.
Stephen Proctor – MSc, MCIHT, MCILT, FSoRSA
Director, TMS Consultancy
Signed ........ ......
Date ........24th January 2014...............
(To view Appendix contact KCC Secretary for electronic version of the Report
Response to Transport Scotland from KCC
Mr David Hamilton
Cc Mr Sam McNaughton, Highland Council
A9 Non Motorised User Review and CC Comments
Thank you for attending our meeting of the 30th January 2014, together with your colleagues, Stephen Davies and Steve Proctor (TMS Consultancy). The production and presentation of the NMU Final Report has been well received by the CC and the outcome greatly appreciated.
Copies of the Final Report have been distributed locally and a further meeting of the CC and community was held on 20th February to discuss the way forward.
The CC now comment as follows:-
1. The content of the Report was accepted by the CC and Community. The document, being well produced, gives an independent and true reflection on the safety issues that impact on NMU’s in and around the Tore roundabout.
2 The CC are aware that Transport Scotland and Highland Council need to agree an Action Plan in order to prioritise and budget work accordingly. From the CC’s point of view, the recommendations set out in Section 8 of the Report are quite specific. The CC request that ALL Short and Medium term measured are actioned within the time frame recommended in the Report.
3. (i) With regard to South 8.2 ( Dual carriageway crossing) the CC understands that ‘smart’ signs are a new concept for traffic management and requests that these be installed, if necessary on a trial basis. In addition, the CC believes that CCTV cameras and associated signage would act as a means of controlling driver behaviour and thereby mitigate the speed of traffic. (The CC was informed that CCTV cameras were to be installed at Tore as part of the Kessock Bridge works, in order to monitor traffic flow. These two operations could be combined.)
(ii) With regard to Section 8.3 Issue 4, the CC request that this issue be considered as a short term priority and a CONFLICT STUDY be undertaken. The study should also consider lighting measures for this junction.
4 Section 9. Longer term issues.
- The CC notes that Section 9.1 (Paras 2&3 ) support the case of the community in that Tore Roundabout poses a serious safety issue and that infrastructure improvements must be considered in the longer term. The CC also notes that Sections 9.2, 9.3 and 9.4 options are (i) controlled crossings, (ii) grade separation and (iii) prioritisation of North and South crossings. The CC requests that a feasibility study be undertaken to evaluate these options.
- Sect 9.5. The CC notes that a speed limit review was carried out in 2012 on behalf of Transport Scotland. This review stated ‘given the character, the mean speed and accident rates, this assessment concluded that the existing speed limit is appropriate.’ KILLEARNAN CC DOES NOT ACCEPT THIS CONCLUSION as the character of the roundabout, the speed of vehicles and the frequency of vehicular accidents and ‘near hits are all matters which have been identified as serious safety issues at Tore. These safety issues have been documented in the CC Submission to the Highland Council, dated May 20th 2012; to Transport Scotland, dated November 2012 and now supported by the NMU Report, Jan 2014.
The CC therefore requests that the speed limit review be re-assessed and the result of any conflict study made available to the residents of Tore.
5 Section 10. The CC accepts 11 of the 12 points made. In Section 10.12, the CC agrees that ‘a reduction in speed is desirable’ but contend that the speed at which a NMU is struck by a motor vehicle is very significant, i.e a nmu struck by a vehicle at 20/30 mph is more likely to survive than a person hit at 50/60 mph. Therefore the speed of traffic through the roundabout in Tore village is a very serious matter which has to be addressed by the authorities.
The CC next meets on March 27th. We would be grateful for a response to the above
matters in order to update the community at that time.
Thank you for all your assistance.
John Macintosh, Chair
Update From Transport Scotland
Trunk Road and Bus Operations
Buchanan House, 58 Port Dundas Road, Glasgow G 04 OHF
Direct Line: 0141 272 7913
davidhamilton@transportscotland gsi.gov uk
Mr John Macintosh (Chair)
Killearnan Community Council
By Muir of Ord March 27.2014
Dear Mr Macintosh
Non Motorized User Considerations at Tore
Thank you for your letter of 25 February regarding ongoing considerations towards non motorized users at Tore Roundabout
Transport Scotland have reviewed the recommendations made by TMS and are now giving further consideration to the short and medium term measures which are relevant to the trunk road network. Before a firm commitment can be given to the delivery of such measures. It is worth recognizing that there is first a requirement to check the suitability of the measures suggested against best practice, design guidance / standards and consistency with the wider trunk road network. This exercise needs to be completed before any improvements are costed to allow consideration against competing priorities elsewhere on the Scottish trunk road network Such considerations did not form part of TMSs assessment.
Subject to the outcome of the above review process, Transport Scotland is committed to working with BEAR Scotland and The Highland Council to deliver improvements within the Timeframe suggested by TMS. It is worth noting that following receipt of TMSs Final Report, BEAF Scotland have continued to undertake general maintenance activities at Tore Roundabout and survey work to inform a conflict study at the A835 I Primary School junction has been programmed to be undertaken in April 2014. As requested, on completion, we will he pleased to share the outcomes of the conflict study with Killearnan Community Council.
There are however a small number of shod and medium term recommendations made by TMS that Transport Scotland do not concur with, and as such will not be considered further at this time These are listed below:
Undertake additional usage surveys (8.1.1 and 8.1.2) — given the general understanding of usage and commitment to put further consideration to the majority of short and medium term measures recommended it is not considered that undertaking further surveys would provide any further benefits.
- Improve left turn radius into the gap from the south west side of the footway to enable, cyclists to keep riding as they turn into Torwood Bay from the south (8.1 2) - As the current visibility encourages cyclists to take greater caution it is not proposed to alter the existing visibility
- Cut back vegetation at Bellmouth to improve inter-visibility between NCN1 users and traffic and maintain (8.1.3)- it is considered that the current sightlines encourage cyclists to take extra caution on the approach to the Primary School junction. For these safety reasons it is not proposed to alter the existing visibility.
Also note your request for consideration towards lighting at the A835 I Primary School Junction. This measure was not recommended by TMS, and is not considered appropriate or viable for further consideration at this time.
With regards to safety on the A9 south approach to Tore Roundabout, given the number of recommendations made by TMS at this location, Transport Scotland have asked BEAR Scotland to put consideration to all recommendations made here to inform the development of a proportionate, coherent and complimentary package of measures. Smart signs will form part of these considerations.
With regards to driver behaviour issues referred to! Transport Scotland will also continue to work with Police Scotland colleagues to ensure that that any specific concerns around driver behaviour raised by the local community are made known. This is considered to be a far more effective and appropriate approach to influence and enforce illegal driving behaviours than through use of CCTV.
The speed limit review was reported in 2012 and as such represents an up to date review of the suitability of the existing speed limits on the A9 and A835. This review considered factors such as the road character, level of roadside frontage, frequency of junctions! vehicle speeds, non motorised user usage and accident history. To enable speed limits across the trunk road network to be reviewed in a consistent manner personal injury accidents only were considered Given the lack of consistency in observing and reporting of near misses, it is not possible to take account of these.
The recommendations of the review that the existing speed limits on the A9 and A835, in proximity to Tore Village, should remain were made in agreement with the Police Transport Scotland are not aware of any material changes to the factors considered through fire speed limit review as referenced above. Given
this, it is not considered appropriate to re-assess the speed limit review findings on the A9 and A835 in the vicinity of Tone Village at this lime Transport Scotland will continue to monitor the mad safety performance at this location, and will also continue to work alongside Northern Safely Camera
Partnership and Police Scotland.
Transport Scotland recognises the longer term ambitions of Killearnan Community Council and will, where appropriate, seek opportunities for further non-motorised user provision in the event that plans for development to the north east of Tore Roundabout, as set out in the local development plan, are
realised. However given the non-motorised user usage, and accident history further consideration towards these longer term measures. including undertaking a feasibility study, is not considered appropriate at this time
I hope this helps to explain the position.
National Network Manager
Email from Highland Council
The Council has made a bid to SUSTRANS ( the cycle agency) for the project works to link up NCN1 along the A832 to the east of Tore roundabout and hopefully this will be successful and allow this to go ahead.Â SUSTRANS can provide up to 50% of the funding with the Council providing the remainder
I’m keen that this missing cycle link is provided and this will improve safety on the A832 the local council road.
S J MacNaughton
Head of Transport and infrastructure