The West Midlands are one of the nine regions of England and one of the essential birthplaces of the industrial revolution. Part of West Midland were historically referred as the ‘Black Country’, due to the significant pollution stemming from the production of bricks, iron, steel and glass during the first industrial boom. New production facilities led to a rapid growth of the towns and cities in the region, resulting in dense urbanisation. The largest of these city is Birmingham with around 1.2 million inhabitants and around 3 million in the wider metropolitan area, which ranks it as the second largest city in the UK after London. Similar to other industrial areas, like the Ruhr Area in Germany, Birmingham and the wider region also faced structural change and transformed into a modern commercial centre and metropolis. These significant amount of inhabitants can rely on the dense tram- and train-network, which is the mode choice for more than 60% of commuters and is operated by the Transport for the West Midlands (TfWM). The high share of public transport users are related to the relatively low car ownership rate in the region. Nevertheless, the majority of the remaining intra-region trips are done by passenger car.
ROAD SAFETY SITUATION
The United Kingdom recorded 3.8 urban road fatalities by 1 million inhabitants in 2020. Thus, around 240 citizens have fatal accidents in urban environments across the United Kingdom. The West Midland region’s road safety strategy seeks to address road safety changes with specific targets to reduce killed and seriously injured road safety casualties by 40% by 2028 with a strong focus on pedestrians, cyclists and public transport as part of its risk reduction strategy. Baseline data for the strategy shows that one pedestrian is killed or seriously injured every day in the region and cyclists represented 12% of KSIs in the region during the same period despite much lower proportions of trips taken by cycle. The aim of the regional authority is to significantly boost active mobility infrastructure and sustainable travel in the upcoming years.
Reallocation of road space to cycling and e-scooter use is the focus of Birmingham and the surrounding area. Road safety will be enhanced by reducing the average speed and by providing sustainable transport options aimed at encouraging modal shift. The purpose of the scenario tests is to better understand the impact of these initiatives on road risk levels, user behaviour and mode choice safety outcomes in the urban environment.
To capture the critical effects of different scenarios, several simulations and real measurements will be conducted widely across the region but with a concentration on locations where infrastructure enhancements have been implemented to increase provision for bicyclists and escooters users. Data to support testing and assessment and wider data gathering will be provided by Transport for West Midlands, Birmingham City Council and the West Midlands Police. This will relate to crash and casualty analysis, traffic mix, road user compliance.