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  Themes Homepage > Safety Town - The Slough Experiment
Living in Slough
Safety Town - The Slough Experiment

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By the mid-1950s, Slough had already been innovators in road safety - in 1951, the country's first zebra crossing was installed here. But in 1955 the town was chosen to be a 'safety town', and host what became known as the 'Slough Experiment'.

This was a two-year experiment which ran from April 1955 to March 1957, at a cost of £200,000. There were three main strands to the scheme, which were labelled the 'Three Es'. These were Education, Enforcement and Engineering.

The Educational aspect of the scheme took several forms. Posters and notices were displayed throughout the borough, and brochures were distributed to every house. A beacon was erected in the town centre which was made to shine red after a fatal accident. A lot of attention was paid to training - refresher courses for drivers were offered, and a school of cycling set up for children. Road safety rallies were organised, which were popular with the public. Motorists could also have their car checked for roadworthiness free of charge.

Enforcement was done mainly through warnings and advice - for example, road safety lectures were given in schools. Also, additional police officers were drafted in for the duration of the experiment, and radar meters were used to check speeds on the A4.

Engineering was the most notable aspect of the scheme. Sets of traffic lights were installed along the High Street and Bath Road, which were timed so that someone sticking to the speed limit should have an uninterrupted flow of green lights along the road. Various types of signage were used, including the first use in Britain of 'Yield' signs, which eventually became 'Give Way' signs. New directional signs were also used, and yellow lines were painted in 'no waiting' zones.

The experiment was largely deemed to have been a success. There was a 10% drop in fatalities and serious injuries, against a nationwide increase of 9%. However, minor injuries did rise at a higher rate than the national figure, but it was thought that this could have been due to better reporting of accidents.

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