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European Road Assessment Association AISBL
Founded 2002
Founder The Road Safety Foundation, formerly the AA Motoring Trust, ADAC, ANWB
Focus Road Safety Research
Area served
Product EuroRAP
Method EuroRAP, European Campaign for Safe Road Design

European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP) is an international not-for-profit organisation (Associations Sans But Lucratif) registered in Belgium. It operates from Worting House, Basingstoke, Hampshire.

In partnership with national motoring organisations and local authorities, EuroRAP assesses roads in Europe to show how well they protect life in the event of a crash. It is a sister programme to EuroNCAP, the European New Car Assessment Programme[1] which star rates new cars for safety.

In a handful of years, EuroRAP has grown from a 4-country pilot to become a major force for change, with active programmes currently in over 30 countries. EuroRAP's success is now being replicated across the world with Road Assessment Programmes in more than 50 countries spanning Europe, Asia Pacific, North, Central and South America, and Africa.

EuroRAP is financially supported by the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society,[2] iRAP,[3] and the European Association of Motor Manufacturers (ACEA).[4] Programmes are typically self-finnaced by in-country automobile associations and national governments. Specific projects receive funding from the World Bank,[5] Global Road Safety Facility,[6] automobile associations, regional development banks, national governments, charities, the motor industry and institutions such as the European Commission.

EuroRAP has received two Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards.[7] The first in 2004 for founding the European programme, and the second in 2009 at the first inter-Ministerial conference on road safety in Moscow, for founding the International Road Assessment Programme iRAP.

Aims & Philosophy[edit]

EuroRAP aims to reduce the likelihood of traffic collisions and make those that do occur survivable. Its formal objectives are to: (1) reduce death and serious injury on Europe's roads through a systematic programme of risk assessment, identifying major safety shortcomings that can be addressed by practical road improvement measures; (2) ensure risk assessment lies at the heart of strategic decisions on route improvements, crash protection and standards of route management; and (3) forge partnerships between those responsible for a safe road system - motoring organisations, vehicle manufacturers and road authorities.

EuroRAP's vision is for a Europe free of high risk roads and supports the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2012-2020.[8]

EuroRAP subscribes to a safe system approach to road safety – 5 star drivers in 5 star cars on 5 star roads and promotes “self-explaining and forgiving” roads.[9] Road safety is a combination of drivers behaviour, the safety of the vehicle and the safety of the infrastructure. The concept of “self-explaining and forgiving” roads is based on presenting road users with routes that are consistently treated and classes of road that are distinctive. This can improve predictability and avoid hidden surprises which in turn can encourage road users to adopt behaviour well suited to the road, reducing the often small errors that can lead to fatal consequences. Self-explaining design seeks to understand better the features which help drivers navigate the road network and, not least, choose the right speed.

The safety of road infrastructure can depend on characteristics such as a road’s carriageway width, markings, signing, lighting, road surface and traffic management. It depends on separating fast moving streams of traffic and the provision of features which prevent high energy collisions, such as roadside barriers. The detailing of speed limits and other regulations (e.g. prohibiting overtaking at blind bends) must be fully fit for purpose. Purpose-built motorways are designed from the outset to be self-explaining. The challenge is far greater on existing lower class roads where there may be pedestrians and cyclists in the traffic mix, as well as frequent accesses and development at the roadside.

Examples of self-explaining and forgiving designs include:

  • speed limit reviews, particularly the use of buffer zones which introduce gradual slowing of vehicles as users move from the rural to the more built-up areas of the network;
  • markings, such as improvements to centre and edge lining and the use of hatched areas to warn against dangerous overtaking;
  • resurfacing, particularly the use of high-friction anti-skid treatments at junctions and on bends;
  • signing, including vehicle activated signs to warn of approaching hazards, interactive speed signs and clearer direction signs to guide users around the network.

Recent research has revealed the substantial economic returns achievable by upgrading existing infrastructure and ensuring that simple safety features such as safe roadsides and safe junction layouts are implemented on busy roads. Authorities following good practice should systematically assess possible road safety schemes for effectiveness in reducing crash numbers and find all those that represent a good investment return and responsible use of public money. The value of engineering measures is commonly expressed in terms of a “first year rate of return”, where the value of crash savings up to one year after the introduction of measures is compared with the cost of the treatment. In the UK for example, first year rates of return of 500% have been documented[10] - in other words, the value of the crash savings achieved from the implementation of measures outweighed the costs five times over in a single year. These returns may only be the tip of the iceberg. Every year Britain suffers serious injury crash costs alone of £0.5 billion on motorways, £1 billion on national trunk roads and £2.5 billion on local authority A roads. Across the whole network, road crashes are estimated to cost up to £30 billion (2.3% of GDP) annually.

Safety engineering improvements are typically low cost and last decades. Affordable investment to improve signing and lining and marry protection standards to the speed limit of the road can protect users from harm for 20 years, with nothing more than routine maintenance. Properly evaluated over the life of the measures, the returns from investment in safe road infrastructure are now difficult to ignore at a time when good investment decisions are demanded to promote economic growth and the nation’s social well-being.


EuroRAP is a membership-based organisation embraced by those who can help create A Europe Free of High Risk Roads. It was created with three categories of membership respecting the different interests and needs of the key stakeholders in a safe road system:

  • Civil Society Members: Autoclubs and charities are active members and are responsible for managing the European programme and internal development of the Association
  • Authority Members: National and regional government, roads agencies and others whose primary contribution is in the development of the techniques being employed and their policy implications
  • Expert Members: Universities, individuals, research organisations and corporate supporters who make a special contribution to the Association either financially or technically.

The Association’s membership includes high-income countries which are leaders in road safety, low- and middle-income countries, and nations undergoing rapid social and economic transition. All are not-for-profit entities except statutory concession holders and significant corporate sponsors which are judged by an Admissions Committee to contribute to, and uphold the values of, the Association.

EuroRAP works closely with autoclubs, governments, funding agencies, research institutes and non-government organisations to ensure that national programmes benefit from broad support and diverse experience. Through its core values of robustness, consistency and clarity, it provides a platform for partnerships within and between countries, creating dedicated teams unlocking the potential to save lives through safe road design. The programme provides a common voice bringing together autoclubs, enabling them to leverage their skills and autonomy for strong local ownership of road safety.

Quick transfer of know-how and continuous development are at the heart of the Association, and will continue as support for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2012–2020 is mobilised. Central to EuroRAP is its ability to ‘enable’ – spreading best practice and communicating challenges and successes. The programme provides a platform for regional groups to work together in a spirit of co-operation and learning from others experience.


EuroRAP has developed standardised protocols for showing the safety level of a road providing a common language that everyone can speak. In low and middle income countries, the EuroRAP methodology provides a structure to measure and manage road safety risk, the basic building blocks of which are often lacking. As a result, these nations can often be faster and more innovative in applying new solutions. EuroRAP encourages countries to focus on their busiest roads where the largest crash savings can be made and therefore countries do not need to include their entire road network in RAP analysis to make a large difference.

Risk Mapping[edit]

Based on real crash and traffic flow data, colour-coded maps show a road's safety performance by measuring and mapping the rate at which road users are being killed or seriously injured. Different maps can be produced depending on the target audience. These include:

  • crashes per km
  • crashes per km travelled
  • crash costs per km and per km travelled
  • potential crash savings per km and per km travelled

Risk is shown in colour-coded bandings from high (black), through medium-high (red), medium (orange), low-medium (yellow) and low risk (green).

Performance Tracking[edit]

The establishment of road safety targets requires that safety performance can be monitored over time. Governments and funding agencies can also benefit from evaluating the road safety impacts of their investments. Performance Tracking identifies whether fewer people are being killed or seriously injured on a road section over time and the countermeasures that have been most effective, including cost, in reducing crashes and injury severity.

  • The Spanish automobile association (RACC)found that the number of high crash risk stretches or very high crash risk stretches has decreased from 36% to 7.3% over 10 years (from 1999–2001 to 2008–2010).
  • In Poland, researchers at the Technical Institute of Gdansk, together with experts from the motoring club PZM and the Foundation for Civil Engineering found that although 42% of total national roads were rated as high risk for the period 2008–2010, this was 19% (3,000 km) less than in 2005–2007.26
  • In the Czech Republic, UAMK and CityPlan published risk rates on national roads from 2003 to 2010. They found that the number of lower-risk sections was increasing and the number of highest risk ones was decreasing.

Safety performance indicators also provide an effective means of monitoring performance. Measures such as helmet and seat belt wearing rates have been used effectively in assessing road safety behaviour, as have speed measurements and conflict studies, and RAP Star Ratings provide a set of safety performance indicators for road infrastructure.

  • In New Zealand, KiwiRAP Star Ratings are included in weekly road death reports to the Minister for Transport.
  • By combining this with information about behaviour related issues such as seat belt wearing and speeding and Australasian NCAP Star Ratings for cars, the Minister is able to gain a balanced view of the factors that influenced each death.
  • In Malaysia, the road authority (JKR) used Star Ratings to rapidly estimate the change in infrastructure-related risk as a result of improvements at several high risk sites under the black spot programme.

Star Rating[edit]

A Star Rating showing the likelihood of a fatal or serious crash occurring and how well the road infrastructure would protect from death or serious injury when a crash occurs. By systematically inspecting roads, countries can develop an understanding of the level of risk built into their road networks. This provides the basis for targeting high risk sections for improvement before people are killed or seriously injured. Inspections are especially useful when crash data is unavailable or unreliable.

Inspections are undertaken using specially equipped vehicles to collect digital, panoramic images or videos of roads as they are driven. These images are then used to record (or 'code') road design attributes known to influence the likelihood of a crash and its severity. The inspections create a permanent video and database record that can be reviewed easily by local engineers and planners. The attributes recorded at 100 metre intervals include:

  • traffic speeds
  • number of lanes and lane width
  • paved shoulder width
  • audio tactile lines
  • median type
  • curvature and curve quality
  • roadside design/obstacles
  • delineation
  • pavement condition
  • overtaking demand
  • intersection layout, volume and quality
  • minor access point density
  • bicycle facilities
  • pedestrian crossing facilities and quality
  • sidewalk provision
  • side friction/roadside activities.

Roads are awarded stars for the level of safety they offer. These range from 1 (high risk) to 5 (low risk).

To enable cost-effective assessment of roads, there is a global network of RAP-accredited suppliers who are capable of competitively bidding to undertake high quality inspections and coding.

Safer Roads Investment Plans[edit]

Where Star Ratings provide a measure of risk on a road, Safer Roads Investment Plans identify ways in which the Star Ratings can be improved in a cost-effective way. There is evidence that well-targeted road safety improvements save lives, at both individual locations and across networks. For example, on a section of the A4128 in the UK, speed reductions, improved signs and markings, intelligent road studs, traffic calming and upgraded pedestrian crossings helped cut the number of fatal and serious crashes from 19 in 2004-06 to two in 2007-09 - an 89% reduction.[11] In Victoria, Australia, an initial $130 million investment in simple but strategic improvements across 113 projects resulted in a 22% reduction in run-off road, head-on and intersection casualty rates.[12] As a result the programme was expanded to $650 million over 10 years.[13]

Safer Roads Investment Plans include extensive planning and engineering information such as road attribute records, countermeasure proposals and economic assessments for 100 metre sections of road.[14] They are supported by online software.[15]

To date Safer Roads Investment Plans have been used to identify improvements in low- and middle-income countries that could prevent more than 50,000 deaths and serious injuries per year, saving around $1.2 billion per year in crash costs avoided.[16]

Star Rating Road Designs[edit]

Apart from assessing existing roads, Star Ratings are being used to ensure that safety is built into designs for major upgrdaes and new roads prior to construction. It is critically important that peoples safety and well being are not overlooked in favour of more traditional objectives such as reducing congestion and travel times. The 7 major multilateral development banks are improving safety performance measures for the road designs they finance. Similarly the Commission for Global Road Safety recommends that desired design speeds for new roads should be subject to achieveing minimum safety ratings.

In Moldova, with the support of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Global Road Safety Facility and engineers from URS Corporation and Universinj, designs that particularly focussed on pedestrians in villages increased the percentage of roads rated 4-stars from 8% to 84%. Final designs were estimated to reduce risk of death and serious injury by 40%.[17]

Local Ownership and Expertise[edit]

Part of EuroRAP’s strategy is to create sustainable learning opportunities, often combined with delivery of projects, to strengthen institutional road safety capacity. Elements of the strategy include:

  • training modules that can be combined to create courses that match the needs of participants;
  • university accreditation for courses;
  • on-the-job training during projects, such as participation in road safety inspections and coding;
  • mentoring road authority engineers and key stakeholders to ensure they are familiar with all parts of a project and fully understand the methodology, results and are able to implement recommendations;
  • regional workshops, that provide opportunities to share knowledge and experience.

EuroRAP History[edit]

1999: Inception[edit]

With the support of governments and motoring clubs across Europe, the Road Safety Foundation, ANWB (Netherlands), ADAC (Germany) and TRL (UK) developed EuroRAP as a sister programme to EuroNCAP, focusing on the safety of road infrastructure, promoting the improvement of road safety through road design.

2000–2001: Pilot[edit]

In 2000 and 2001 pilot work was underway to develop a methodology capable of assessing and benchmarking road safety in different countries. Risk maps in Great Britain, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden showed fatal and serious crash rates, and a standard “drive through” inspection of routes for road safety features was tested in Great Britain, Sweden, Netherlands and Germany.

Important findings for the programme included:

  • 80% of fatal and serious crashes on interurban roads in Europe are associated with 4 impact types: head-ons, intersections, run-offs and vulnerable road users;
  • 60% of deaths in Europe occur on roads outside built-up areas;
  • The majority of deaths on roads outside built-up areas are on single carriageway roads.

Australia geared up for an AusRAP programme.


In 2002, EuroRAP was established as a Brussels based International Non Profit Association (AISBL) to manage Road Assessment Programmes across the EU. ADAC (Germany), ANWB (Netherlands) and RSF (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) become founding members. Results from the biggest study ever undertaken of the safety of Europe’s roads was published, showing risk rates for national roads in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden and Spain. In Britain, risk maps appeared in commercially available road atlases helping to raise public awareness of risk.

2003: EuroRAP I[edit]

2003 saw formal roll out and extension of EuroRAP with a 12-month project, financially supported by the EC. The project aimed to change the priority that Governments gave to way roads are equipped and managed to reduce death and serious injury. The first performance tracking results were published in Great Britain; a national road inspection programme was prepared in Sweden; and the first Spanish risk mapping on federal roads was published. Pilot work also began on a RAP in the United States - usRAP.

  • New members of the Association: ACAFA, RACC, M, TCS, TCB, Autoliitto, AMZS, NAF, AA Ireland, RACE, OAMTC, SCT, NRA, HA.
  • New countries involved: France, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland, Slovenia, Norway, Ireland, Austria.
  • Number of countries involved: 13


In Sweden a programme to star rate the national road network is supported by Toyota, while in Germany, ADAC begana star rating programme on its national roads, supported by Daimler Chrysler. Pilot road inspections also got underway in Switzerland.

EuroRAP won the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in recognition of its "outstanding contribution to international road safety".

  • New members of the Association: ACI, FIB, DRDNI
  • New countries involved: Italy, Iceland
  • Number of countries involved: 15

2005: EuroRAP II[edit]

EuroRAP moves from project to programme with EuroRAP II: From Measurement to Action - a 2-year programme promoting investment in large-scale applications of safer road infrastructure to save lives and money. Inter-continental validation of RAP methodology and a request from the World Bank leads to the formation of iRAP as an umbrella organisation for global expansion. Ireland published its first risk mapping results of major roads. The year ends with the publication of From Arctic to Mediterranean, demonstrating how in just 5 years EuroRAP has moved from a 4 country pilot to a programme active in 18 countries.

  • New members of the Association: HAK, UAMK, SATC
  • New countries involved: Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia
  • Number of countries involved: 18


The Safer Roads Save Lives campaign is launched to raise awareness amongst decision makers and public of what needs to be done to improve road infrastructure, and the solutions available.

Road inspections rapidly roll out: ADAC (Germany) inspections on motorways in Bavaria and Rhineland-Palatinate show that upgrading from 3- to 4-star will halve severe run-off crashes; FIB (Iceland) present pilot results around the capital city of Reykjavik; and in the UK, national road authorities support inspection of major inter-urban roads.

The Getting Organised to Make Roads Safe report ([18]) urges action to stem the €160bn (2% GDP) lost annually in EU road crashes and identifies the actions authorities must take to manage roads to higher safety standards.

  • New members of the Association: FRIL and Gdansk University Poland

2007: EuroRAP III[edit]

EuroRAP III: From Measurement to Mass Action begins - a 2-year programme committed to extending into Eastern European nations, assessing Europe’s trade routes and rolling out network safety upgrading projects - moving from measuring risk to the practical application of countermeasures. Slovakia becomes the first of the group to produce risk mapping. First star rating results for Spanish motorways are released by RACC showing less than 50% reaching a 4-star standard. EuroRAP members help RAP development in low and middle income countries: ADAC (Germany) inspect roads in East Africa and RACC (Spain) in Latin America.

  • New members of the Association: AMSS, BIHAMK, AMSM, PZM, Transport Scotland, Transport Wales, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chesire Council
  • New countries involved: Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Republic of Macedonia and Poland
  • Number of countries involved: 22


Growth into central and eastern EU continues with risk mapping results in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and pilot road inspections underway in Slovakia and Crete. With World Bank Global Road Safety Facility support a major programme of road inspections begin in Serbia, generating the first Safer Roads Investment Plan in Europe.

Star rating results in Netherlands lead to a national target of no national 2-star roads by 2020. Sweden introduces a new speed system, adjusting posted limits to road protection standards. On 75% of rural roads speed limits were lowered.

A special RAP panel publish Barriers to Change[19] following review work to assess the safety of barrier design for motorcyclists.

  • New members of the Association: AMSCG, Agency for State Roads (Republic of Macedonia), Ministry of the Interior (Republic of Macedonia)
  • New countries involved: Montenegro
  • Number of countries involved: 23

2009: European Road Safety Atlas[edit]

The EC supports the 3-year European Road Safety Atlas Project which aims to provide a key resource on the safety deficits of Europe’s roads. The Polish EuroRAP programme launches with the publication of risk mapping of international roads. RACC (Spain) are the first to build EuroRAP risk and risk ratings into their on-line route planner available to motorists. EuroRAP Members join together in the European Campaign for Safe Road Design to demonstrate how safe road design can cut road death and injury by 1/3rd, saving €50bn in crash costs annually.

EuroRAP receives a Special Prince Michael International Award at the first UN inter Ministerial conference on road safety for its European and global work establishing iRAP.

In its commitment to ‘enable others’ EuroRAP begins an accreditation programme to provide a pool of road inspection providers.

  • New members of the Association: Rijeka-Zagreb Motorway plc, Ministry of Interior Affairs, Sector for Police and Ministry of Transport & Communications (Croatia)

2010: European Road Safety Atlas[edit]

A unique collaboration between ACAFA (France), ANWB (Netherlands), RACC (Spain), RSF (Great Britain and Northern Ireland), & TCB (Belgium) publish star ratings for popular tourist routes through Belgium, France and Spain.

How Safe Are You on Europe’s Trade Routes[20] provides the first comprehensive analysis of TEN-T roads in 15 countries, finding that just 31% meet "best possible" safety standards.

BIHAMK release the first risk maps on national roads in Bosnia and Herzegovina. M star rating results show that in Sweden, despite massive speed reductions, 1 in 4 roads do not reach acceptable safety standards. FIB provide road inspection services for star rating in Tanzania.

  • New members of the Association: ELPA, Hrvatske Ceste, Hrvatske Autoceste and Public Enterprise Macedonia
  • New countries involved: Greece
  • Number of countries involved: 24

2011: European Road Safety Atlas[edit]

The first online European Road Safety Atlas is released giving safety ratings of 240,000 km of roads across 23 countries[21]

Road inspections go from strength-to-strength:

  • With support from MCC and national Government star ratings are released in Moldova. A Safer Roads Investment Plan shows a benefit cost ratio of 5. The value of star ratings in design plans is demonstrated.
  • FIB (Iceland) provide road inspection services for a star rating pilot in Canada.
  • AMSS (Serbia) support pilot road inspections in Russia.
  • ANWB (Netherlands) begin an ambitious self-funded programme to star rate all Dutch provincial roads.

Working with leading motor manufacturers, EuroRAP and EuroNCAP collaborate on Roads That Cars Can Read[22] - an initiative to define the tolerances and logical structure needed for cars to read the road, and the extent to which existing major road networks fall short.

Following increasing demand EuroRAP develops and delivers training for planners and engineers, and road safety professionals.

  • New members of the Association: ACP, MEMSI and ACA
  • New countries involved: Portugal, Israel, Albania
  • Number of countries involved: 27

See also[edit]


  1. ^ EuroNCAP homepage (
  2. ^ FIA Foundation homepage (
  3. ^ iRAP homepage (
  4. ^ ACEA homepage (
  5. ^ World Bank homepage (
  6. ^ Global Road Safety Facility homepage (,,menuPK:2582226~pagePK:64168427~piPK:64168435~theSitePK:2582213,00.html)
  7. ^ Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards homepage (
  8. ^ UN Decade of Action (
  9. ^ (
  10. ^ (
  11. ^ Simple Measures Save Lives (
  12. ^ Scully, J., Newstead, S., and Corben, B (2008). Preliminary evaluation of the $130 million Safe Road Infrastructure Programme (Stage I). MUARC Research Report.
  13. ^
  14. ^ iRAP 2009. iRAP Serbia: Results 2009.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Vaccines for Roads, Second Edition
  17. ^ Safety Rating for Design (
  18. ^ "SAFE ROAD DESIGN TO SAVE UK £6BN EVERY YEAR" (Word DOC). Campaign for Safe Road Design. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  19. ^ Barrier to Change report (
  20. ^ How Safe Are You on Europe's Trade Routes report (
  21. ^ European Road Safety Atlas (
  22. ^ Roads that Cars Can Read Consultation Paper (

External links[edit]