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Despite knowledge and free tools to improve the safety of road designs, unsafe 1- and 2-star roads are still being built every day. However, a new Global Road Designers Consultation Group is aiming to save lives by improving software and training worldwide to ensure roads are designed safe, right from the start.

Before a road design leaves the engineer’s desk, with the inclusion of a Star Rating, its safety and the number of fatalities and serious injuries the road will claim when built can be quantified. Importantly, improvements can be made early to save lives, weighing the cost and benefit of countermeasures, and impact of speed, to maximize safety.

The world is calling for safe road design

The Global Plan, which was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), UN regional commissions and partners in the UN Road Safety Collaboration to support the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, includes the ambitious target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.

The Global Plan includes a target that: “By 2030, all new roads achieve technical standards for all road users that take into account road safety, or meet a three star rating or better”, and encourages countries to:

  • Specify a technical standard and star rating target for all designs linked to each road user, and the desired safety performance standard at that location.
  • Undertake road safety audits on all sections of new roads (pre-feasibility through to detailed design) and complete assessments using independent and accredited experts to ensure a minimum standard of three stars or better for all road users.

Star Rating for Designs

Star Rating for Designs (SR4D) is an evidence-based process and programme of applications informed by the iRAP Methodology which enable the objective measure, and improvement, of the level of road safety ‘built in’ to a road design for vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists, before the commencement of civil works.

The vision for SR4D is that every road design has a Star Rating.

SR4D is essential to supporting countries to achieve the United Nations Global Road Safety Performance Target 3, to ensure all new roads are built to a 3-star or better standard for all road users.

For more information on how to build organisational capacity for safer road design, Star Rating for Designs, the free Web App, training and how to include Star Rating Targets in the tender process, visit

How you can help

The SR4D Road Designers Consultation Group will draw together experts from around the world in the private and public sectors to provide a road designer’s perspective on the development of the SR4D programme and tools, and how impact on scale can be achieved globally.

Advice and feedback will be gathered on the road design process and how software is used, the effectiveness of SR4D tools and development needs, training and accreditation, and communications, to improve the worldwide offering.

Nominations are invited from designers interested in joining the Consultation Group here by 8 April.

Arup and SR4D: A partnership for Outcome Led Design

Arup, with 16,000 designers and staff working across 35 countries, has been using SR4D to improve the safety of client road designs and their corporate strategy for Outcome Led Design linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and UN Global Road Safety Performance Targets.

According to Chris Furneaux, Associate Director of Arup, “Star Rating for Designs provides an independent verification on [safety] rating. it provides something that people can understand and is quantifiable and consistent across a region, the country or the globe.”

Watch the video to hear more:

Keen for progress updates?

Not interested in joining the SR4D Road Designers Consultation Group but keen to stay abreast of activities and progress to improve the safety and Star Rating of Road Designs? Sign up for the general SR4D Interest Group here (note Consultation Group nominees will immediately be assigned to the Interest Group and can unsubscribe at any time).

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The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) is a Registered Charity with UN ECOSOC Consultative Status.
iRAP is registered in England and Wales under company number 05476000
Charity number 1140357

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