Approximately seven out of every ten fatal accidents registered in Spain take place on conventional roads, with a frontal collision being one of the most common causes. Not surprisingly, overtaking on roads with one lane in each direction are the most dangerous maneuvers. A bad calculation leaves little room for rectification to avoid a collision with the vehicle that is approaching from the front, even more so since the latest modification of the Traffic Law introduced the prohibition of exceeding the maximum speed allowed in this type of vehicle by 20 km/h. of tracks to carry out overtaking in the shortest time and space possible.
A solution to improve safety in the execution of these dangerous maneuvers on conventional roads is the implementation of the so-called 2 1 lanes. In fact, the Government of the Generalitat de Catalunya has announced that it plans to introduce this improvement in a total of 418 kilometers of the Catalan road network until 2030.
In recent years, the data show a stagnation in fatal accidents, with a rise in frontal collisions. After analyzing where and why they occur, the Department of Territory has drawn up a plan to apply this solution in those sections of single carriageway that concentrate more accidents of this type; These are roads that allow high circulation speeds and through which more than 5,000 vehicles pass each day.
With a budget of 664 million, the executive intends to reduce the accident rate by 20% by acting on 7% of the road network and plans to avoid between 80% and 100% of fatal accidents on those sections after carrying out the actions .
In recent years, the Generalitat has implemented this system, inspired by the experience of Sweden, one of the leading countries in road safety. Specifically, the Government has applied it to sections of the C-55, C-16 or C-58, and has monitored the accident rate. In these 2 1 sections executed, there has been no fatal accident caused by a frontal or frontal collision; and accidents with fatalities have been reduced by 90% and serious ones by 50%.
But what exactly are 2 1 lanes? They are two-way roads with three lanes: the ones at the ends are used to circulate in each direction, while the central one allows overtaking. In fact, it is specifically designed for this purpose and is used alternatively so that the driver does not have to risk encroaching on the opposite direction.
The safety of drivers on the 2 1 roads is also reinforced by the fact that the separation of directions is preferably done with physical elements, such as medians, barriers or pivots. With the aim of establishing unified guidelines for the design of this type of infrastructure, the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (Mitma), through the General Directorate of Highways, approved in March 2021 the first Spanish regulation in this regard. .
The Generalitat has explained that the priority is to add an additional lane that alternates in one direction or another and reinforcing the separation of the directions. However, due to the characteristics or functionality of the road, an intermediate solution may also be chosen, in which the section of the road is maintained and a reinforced separation system is placed in both directions.
This reinforced separation of the directions of circulation can be carried out with various systems: for example, by means of a physical concrete barrier, horizontal signage (which may include central ridges, red paint or projections) or beaconing elements that help guide movement and make it easier to read the road.
Below is a list of the sections of Catalan highways in which interventions will be carried out in the coming years.