LTA to start road safety audit, boost 'black spot' scheme

Pedestrian Crossing Ahead Markings - the triangular marking on the left - have been introduced since 2008 at places like the Clementi Road exit to the AYE to warn motorists of zebra crossings ahead.
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SINGAPORE - The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is intensifying efforts to tackle locations with high accident rates, a move prompted by a recent spate of road deaths.

It will soon embark on a safety audit of Singapore roads, starting with expressways, its group director of road operations Chin Kian Keong told The Straits Times.

An international agency, the International Road Assessment Programme, co-sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO), will carry out the audit, which is estimated to cost almost $1 million.

Meanwhile, the LTA's road engineering division is looking to lower the threshold for marking a place as a black spot or accident- prone area.

It is eyeing a limit of 12 serious accidents in a three- year period, instead of the current 15. Serious accidents are those that involve injury or death.

The scheme helps the LTA identify risks in Singapore's 3,400km road network, and make infrastructural changes when necessary. Since its start in 2005, the LTA has identified about 100 black spots.

One example is the Upper Serangoon, Upper Paya Lebar and Boundary Road junction, where a signalised right turn was introduced. The number of accidents fell from 31 to seven in 35 months.

Another is the Woodlands Avenue 7 and Gambas Avenue junction, where a signalised right turn was also introduced. Accidents fell from 14 to four within 27 months.

A black spot label is removed when accident rates fall below the threshold in the following three years.

Dr Chin said the LTA takes both a reactive and proactive approach to road safety. It has an independent team of 12 officers, led by qualified safety engineers, who comb the 645km network of arterial roads for shortcomings.

"Each year, they cover about 70km, day and night. After walking, they drive through to get the motorist's perspective," he said.

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