Our guide to road casualty mapping

Slower speeds prevent road crashes or reduce the damage they cause.  There are free casualty maps online.  Look up your road and request 20 mph.

Road casualty is the UK’s most preventable cause of death for 5-35 year olds.  Human Geographer Professor Dorling describes road danger as the “greatest avoidable public health epidemic” [1].  Citizens and Councillors can get free information on where road crashes have occurred from:


  • 20’s Plenty for Us http://www.20splentyforuk.org.uk/uk_casualty_maps.htm This maps the gender and age of fatalities from 2000-2010, plus the spread of serious and slight injuries by locality.
  • http://www.crashmap.co.uk pin points 2005-2011 casualties on easy to use maps.   You can specify crashes by year, severity, or type of casualty – e.g. child, motorcycle rider, pedal cyclist or pedestrian.
  • http://www.cyclestreets.net/collisions/ allows you to draw a polygon around an area and download a spreadsheet of all the cycle casualties and some of the details of each victim from 2005-2010.

Seeing a map of crashes will certainly affect Councillor’s perceptions. They set local road speeds.

1,901 fatalities, 23,122 seriously injured and 203,950 all severities were recorded in 2011.  But, actual road injury numbers are much higher. Police STATS19 understate injury severity. At an emergency, the police lack the medical training to differentiate slight versus serious blows.  The majority of slight injuries go unreported[2]. The DfT say the true road toll for all casualties is 3.5 times recorded incidents – 700,000+ road injured p.a.  This adjustment is from comparing police and hospital data with the National Travel Survey’s collision involvement question[3]. For an all collision total, add an extra 4-5 million non-injury crashes p.a.

Note that relative danger is affected by travel choice. If walker or cyclist injuries are rare it may not be a particularly ‘safe’ area - just that not many people walk or cycle.  Likewise, where these are popular, casualties may appear high due to more human-powered mileage.  Rate-based measures are ideal, but are rarely reported.  Actual danger is proportional to the speed and volume of traffic.

UK road casualties are rising.  This human suffering is avoidable.  A proven, cost-effective solution is slower speeds as road users can then stop in time or face less impact force[4]. 20 mph limits work, particularly if community wide, covering not just immediately outside schools, but the entire route, or to the park or shops.  Unclustered casualties are often as numerous as clustered. They need a wide area tool as they are hard to predict.  No humps are needed.

 Look up road casualties nearby.  Show the maps and figures to Councillors. Help them understand the need to commit to wide area 20 mph limits to prevent road crashes and victims.

[1] http://sasi.group.shef.ac.uk/publications/2010/Dorling_2010_PACTS.ppt  Prof Danny Dorling “Roads, Casualties and Public Health - the open sewers of the 21st century”. Westminster Lecture Nov 2010

[3] http://www.roadpeace.org/resources/Newsletter_Spring10.pdf Reported in RoadPeace newsletter pg 8 -True Toll

[4] Peden, M., Scurfield, R., Sleet, D., Mohan, D., Hyder, A., Jarawan, E., and Mathers, C. (2004) ‘World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention’ Geneva World Health Organisation. http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/road_traffic/world_report/chapter4.pdf

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