Road hazard app on the way to share potential dangers

It will let users share news on potential dangers, allowing for better route planning

Transport experts are developing an app that allows road users to share information about potential dangers in specific areas of Singapore.

Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists who spot any hazards will be able to report them on the app and these will then be rated to give an indication of how serious the risks are.

A publicly accessible risk map will then be created to allow people to plan their routes better.

This map shows the roads identified by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) as accident-prone "black spots" in Singapore. The red pointers mark stretches where the LTA is still working on solutions, while the blue ones represent those that have seen less accidents after improvements have been made by the agency. -- SOURCE: LTA

The director of the Safety Studies Initiative at the National University of Singapore Chin Hoong Chor, who is helping to develop the app, said these road users are best placed to raise awareness of any dangers.

The associate professor, who specialises in transport, told The Sunday Times: "People can submit information if they observe any hazards or experience any near misses."

He added that they will be able to do this without the fear of prosecution as their information will only be used for research purposes to help other road users.

Statistics from the Traffic Police showed that there were 7,168 accidents involving fatalities and injuries last year. There were 169 deaths among these.

While this was the lowest figure in the last five years, Prof Chin pointed out that these are only those reported to the Traffic Police.

There are other collisions reported only to insurers and others not reported at all, he said, adding: "The perception of congestion is clear, people can see the cars jammed. They will choose alternative routes, but people don't have the perception of safety.

"If we rely on accident data alone, it is not good enough. That way, we are waiting for an accident to happen before we can take action."

Government efforts to improve road safety are also being intensified.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said last week it is intensifying efforts to tackle locations with high accident rates following a recent spate of road deaths.

It will embark on a safety audit of Singapore's roads, starting with expressways.

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

It is considering a limit of 12 serious accidents - those involving injury or death - in a three-year period instead of the current 15.

Since it was set up in 2005, the LTA has identified about 100 black spots.

Meanwhile a group of riders from the lovecyclingsg group have flagged out around 30 other spots as "dangerous".

These riders inform founders Taiwoon Woon and Francis Chu of areas posing hazards to cyclists, such as heavy vehicles and fast traffic.

The information is then plotted onto a Google map, which is accessible through their blogs.

Explaining the rationale of such a map, Mr Chu - who is also the director of a bike share company - said: "One of the biggest priorities in keeping ourselves safe and avoiding accidents is planning our routes properly.

"Sometimes the map looks like the roads are friendly to cyclists, but the ground conditions may be different."

jalmsab@sph.com.sg