Road Safety - Thinking Fast and Slow

How do we make a real difference to the safety of roading and construction sites? Safety information is typically gathered and analysed for monthly or quarterly reporting, and often based on a small sample worksite or time span.  These insights are extremely helpful to us and inform safer Traffic Management plans, however don't help us to address immediate site safety.  

Thinking Fast and Slow

‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ refers to how two thinking processes are constantly fighting over control of your behaviour and actions. 

In the case of roading and infrastructure safety, thinking slow refers to spending time assessing the aggregate, looking for information and insights, then making necessary changes.  This doesn’t take into account the day to day variability - and this is where the real road safety risk is.  

Thinking fast would refer to our ability to understand that there is a breach on that given day and enable informed decision making - in order to make the road immediately safer for teams on a worksite.  

We live in a dynamic and ever changing world so to make a significant difference, we need to understand the live issues and conditions occurring on a worksite today in order to reduce exposure to risk.  Put simply we need to understand:

  1. What it looks like before we turn up; and

  2. If current conditions are different from what we planned for.

Understanding this and having the information accessible to all stakeholders means we can actively manage and reduce the risk rather than only identify past issues through safety reporting.

Two types of risks - one is more manageable

When looking at managing safety we can look at two types of risks:

  1. Constant, background system risk that impacts all of us (e.g. the ever-present risk of having our people in harm’s way)

  2. Risks from lone, single vehicles that are significantly outside the norm (e.g. a single vehicle with extreme speed).

Much focus has been placed on the lone driver; the extreme speed risk factor.  When this occurs it is often high profile and tragic.  By comparison, consistent excess speed through worksites and the associated incidents are less visible, more accepted but account for a far greater proportion of the total risk. 

Addressing the systemic background risk has historically been difficult but it is now possible to get live data on speed through a site, without needing to put people in harms way. 

Having great safety conversations

It’s Road Safety Week this week and we’re celebrating the road safety heroes we partner with at Mooven during #roadsafetyweek. 

When working with our customers, safety is always at the front of the conversation.  Creating safe worksites for teams and the community is a significant priority and often it may be a conversation about:

  1. Understanding speed through site when designing Traffic Management Plans;

  2. Setting up smart alerts to immediately flag excess speeds to staff on site; or 

  3. Gaining insights to negotiating closures or other approaches that reduce the safety risk and duration of works.

Sometimes these conversations are robust, they bring up a conflict between how we manage safety and community engagement.  These are good conversations to have and push us to innovate and find insights into a safer way to work, better community experience and balance these outcomes.

Thank you to all the Road Safety Heroes going above and beyond to keep safety conversations a top priority for everyone - the robust change provoking safety conversations and the important everyday safe worksite conversations.

We have been particularly impressed by the work underway within Transport for New South Wales and Waka Kotahi to critically look at how rules and regulations can take a risk based approach, along with Ventia, Downer and Hiway Group to drive changing worksite practices.

You play a huge part in role modelling safety leadership and making worksites and journeys safer for everyone.

Mooven safely around worksites - a two-pronged approach

No one has the ability to forecast road conditions, so it’s vital to have feedback loops to understand how we are performing - on a timescale that enables action to reduce risks.

We have been recommending a two-pronged approach: 

  1. Gain visibility:  Using real-time monitoring to track performance through each section of your worksites

  2. Proactive alerting: Create alerts to immediately flag excess speeds to staff on site.

    Mooven dashboard on laptop on mobile phone

But how do you go about this? We segment the worksite into zones covering entry and exit points, as well as any relevant blocks throughout the worksite.

Alerts are then set up to notify the STMS or other relevant roles on-site when speeds exceed a defined KPI. More importantly, this provides context to pinpoint the issues so they can adjust onsite behaviour.

Gaining visibility also allows you to track trends over time, exploring alternative traffic management plans, and confirming what works. Increasing agility.

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