The royal decrees of 9th October 1998 and 3rd May 2002 on road humps lay down the requirements and technical specifications to be met by these devices. BRRC has developed for the geometric inspection of “raised traffic calming devices on public highways”, as they are officially named, a method of measurement which allows rapid assessment of their compliance with requirements and specifications.
The law authorizes traffic calming devices with varying geometries and dimensions, but requires that they should be adapted to local circumstances (location, types of vehicle in traffic). As a result, not all specified devices (and, all the more so, those failing to comply with regulations) have the same intrinsic effectiveness in reducing speeds. That is why the choice of a traffic calming device with any ensuing layouts or facilities requires careful reflection on the objectives to be met. To collect objective input for this reflection, the Centre also makes measurements on existing sites, where both geometric data and travel speeds are recorded.
It is generally accepted that human error is involved in a good many road accidents. Although education, awareness and enforcement are important tools in reducing the number of accidents, it is equally crucial that the road environment and the vehicle should be adapted to the limitations of human abilities.
About one fifth of all traffic accidents in Belgium are collisions with obstacles off the carriageway. Generally a single vehicle is involved in these.
However, there is a considerable difference in severity of the consequences of such accidents. The risk of death after a collision with an obstacle off the carriageway is at least twice as high as the average risk of being killed in a traffic accident. And the risk of serious injuries is still at least 60 % higher than on average.
The objective of the SPACE project was to identify solutions that offer the greatest potential safety gains. A literature review was made for that purpose, and a panel of experts evaluated a number of promising treatments by means of interactive visual tools and through experiments in a driving simulator.