Lucy Martin has won the 2018 Voorhees-Large Prize for her Southampton University Transport Planning and Engineering Masters dissertation ‘Geo-Demographic Profiling of Road Casualty Risk across Devon’.
Lucy, an Assistant Transport Planning Officer at Devon County Council, moved to Devon from South Wales to study Geography at the University of Exeter where she developed her interest in the more social aspects of the planning process, an interest first sparked by plans for a controversial multi-use trail in the village where she grew up. She is now working on a variety of transport schemes, while promoting the benefits of geo-demographic understanding when working for the public.
After graduating in the summer of 2016, Lucy began her career at the County Council in the Road Safety team, working on a variety of projects concerned with collision data analysis, and became interested in how socio-economic datasets held by the council’s public health department could become exciting and enlightening tools in the road safety arena.
To further her professional development and technical understanding, Lucy decided to study for a Transport Masters at the University of Southampton. Graduating with distinction, Lucy said ‘influences from my backgrounds in both geography and road safety were fundamental to the completion of my dissertation. The consequences of international targets to reduce killed and seriously injured road casualties by 50% by 2020 filter down to impact local governments, many of whom place behavioural change central to safety strategies. In my dissertation I investigated correlations between deprivation and road casualties in the rural county of Devon, and recommended behavioural interventions tailored to groups in society joined by both geographic and socio-economic character.
Lucy explains that ‘each aspect of the English Indices of Multiple Deprivation can be linked to international road casualty studies, yet much UK road safety research focuses on child pedestrians and on urban areas. This creates a need to investigate the rural context where, as Public Health England asserts, deprivation manifests differently. In my research I linked Experian’s MOSAIC Public Sector (a geo-demographic database) with the Indices of Multiple Deprivation and 5-years of Devon County Council’s collision data. Statistical analysis combined with the wealth of information profiled within MOSAIC Public Sector (surrounding geography, communication, media, authority and community trust etc.) led to the recommendation of adapted road safety interventions for high risk groups’.
Lucy’s findings largely support correlations within literature, demonstrating how significant negative correlations between deprivation and road casualty risk perpetuate in Devon. However, the use of MOSAIC’s more sophisticated analysis also highlighted nuanced pockets of ‘privileged’ casualties, otherwise obscured in the general deprivation trend.