Maintaining the high road safety level of the Dutch national road network is paramount to us: that’s why we strongly believe in the importance of quality road safety audits. Because the Dutch Department of Waterways and Public Works (Rijkswaterstaat) is currently the only road authority requiring all audits to be conducted by certified road safety auditors, DTV Consultants has developed a tailored, high-quality training programme in cooperation with KoVa to ensure the highest safety standards in the field.
In terms of safety, the Dutch road network is among the top ten in Europe. However, there is still room for improvement. DTV Consultants believes that by utilising independent, certified road safety auditors, it may be possible to meet government-mandated targets and improve road safety even further. As road safety audits were made mandatory by the Ministry of Infrastructure in 2012, it is now more important than ever to ensure these audits are of the highest possible quality.
What are road safety audits?
The road safety audit is a systematic process designed to carry out independent, detailed, systematic, and technical safety checks at all stages of the project. They are carried out by traffic safety auditors whose expert knowledge allows them to analyse and evaluate projects in the fields of road safety, traffic engineering, human factors, and road design. These experts aim to identify – and then solve – potential road safety problems before the road comes into use and is opened to traffic.
Why get certified?
The most important reason for certifying traffic safety auditors is to guarantee the quality of all road safety audits. Auditors must possess a highly specialised set of skills: for example, they must be knowledgeable and experienced in road safety, road design, the behaviour of road users, and be able to visualise designs before they are implemented. As such, we request detailed CVs from potentials applicants to ensure they are eligible for the programme. Only applicants with a background in higher professional education and extensive experience in road safety and road design are eligible to submit their portfolio and to request an interview. Upon completion of the course, participants are required to take an exam to prove their merit and knowledge. In addition, road managers benefit from the fact our methods and processes are standardised, which allows us to streamline and simplify the process.
As a consequence of directive 2008/96/EC made and implemented by the European Parliament in 2008, the Dutch Department of Waterways and Public Works (Rijkswaterstaat) is the only road authority in the Netherlands currently mandating all audits on its road network are carried out by certified auditors. Since the Ministry itself does not provide a road safety auditing programme, an independent quality committee (KoVa) was established and tasked to recruit and train more auditors in cooperation with an established and recognised educational institute in the field of road safety. Although there were several interested parties, DTV Consultants managed to secure the bid in 2012 and has since dedicated much of its time to developing a unique and high-quality road safety auditing programme. This training course focuses on further honing participants’ pre-existing knowledge and aims to provide them with a solid understanding of the auditing process and its pertaining regulations.
Other requirements for the underlying road network
Other road authorities are not legally required to have audits performed by certified auditors and are thus at liberty to decide when and by whom audits should be carried out. The traffic safety auditor course provided by DTV Consultants and KoVa therefore differs from the programme offered by the national road network (Rijkswaterstaat) in terms of content and assessment.
The future of road safety audits and certification
As a result of governmental commitment and support from KoVa, major strides have been made to further professionalise traffic safety audits. DTV Consultants has observed that other road authorities and auditors are becoming increasingly invested in this process. As such, it has been decided to tighten the eligibility requirements for the transport safety auditing programme: since 2015, only individuals holding higher vocational qualifications with a minimum of five years’ experience have been eligible to be enrolled in DTV Consultant’s auditing course. Furthermore, we have begun actualising our Road Safety Auditing Manual, which we expect to deliver at the end of 2016.
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