Make deprivation an indicator for road casualties – LRSC

The London Road Safety Council is to meet with TfL later this month, to discuss making deprivation an indicator for road casualties.

In December 2020, the LRSC published the findings of a study which shows that people living and working in London’s most deprived neighbourhoods are twice as likely to be injured in a road traffic collision than the least deprived areas.

The study, produced for London’s Poverty Profile by WPI Economics on behalf of Trust for London and the London Road Safety Council (LRSC), explored the relationship between deprivation and the area in which road collisions occur. 

The findings show that:

    • There are more road traffic collisions recorded in the most deprived neighbourhoods in London than the least deprived; the 10% of areas with the highest deprivation saw nearly 3,000 casualties in 2019, more than double the 1,400 in the 10% of areas with the lowest deprivation. 
    • A similar pattern is seen on roads where the speed limit is below 30 miles per hour, implying these collisions affect residents in more deprived areas, not just on main roads passing through them. 
    • This trend is even more extreme when looking only at collisions involving pedestrians; these are nearly three times as common in the most deprived neighbourhoods compared to the least. 
  • The relationship between road collisions and deprivation can be seen most clearly in collisions involving slight injuries.

After publishing the study, the LRSC wrote to Heidi Alexander, deputy mayor for London, asking her to consider making deprivation an indicator for road casualties.  

A meeting has now been arranged for 19 January.

The letter in full:

Dear Heidi,

In London, 80% of people killed or seriously injured in road crashes are vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists. There is a strong link with deprivation and casualties. New analysis from the Trust for London shows pedestrian casualties in most deprived neighbourhoods are nearly three times greater compared to those in the least deprived.

We request that Transport for London monitor casualties by quintiles of deprivation in their road safety strategy and demonstrate how they will focus interventions in these areas. This call for action is because the economic shock of the pandemic will see more people in these areas walking, cycling and using motorcycles increasing their exposure to road danger.

We also request that TfL monitor and publish data on road casualties involving people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. Black lives do matter and they are disproportionately killed and injured in road crashes in London. The pandemic has disproportionately affected people from BAME and they may feel more fearful of using public transport and walk, cycle or use a  motorcycle as an alternative.

London’s mobility is rapidly changing and this has implications for road safety. Every borough will need road safety practitioners with the resources to deliver a safer, more sustainable and resilient London. We request that budgets for road safety are secure for the future and that TfL prioritises infrastructure that supports safe walking and cycling for all.

I look forward to hearing from you on your response to these  requests which I believe will improve the delivery and understanding of road safety and drive down collisions across London.  

Kind regards,

Professor Nicola Christie
London Road Safety Council

10 December 2020 (updated 04 January 2021)