March 2021: ARRB‘s National Leader – Transport Safety, Mr David McTiernan presented to NSW local government engineers at the IPWEA NSW State Conference how AusRAP can help them deliver safer road infrastructure.

The Star Rating of Australia’s National and State Highway networks has been assessed by Automobile Clubs and Government road agencies and is referenced in the development of corridor plans and road infrastructure programs.  But 80% of the public roads in Australia are managed by Local Government, and only a very small proportion of local roads have been the subject of a Star Rating assessment.

ARRB, an iRAP Centre of Excellence in Australia, has been working to raise awareness amongst local government practitioners of the benefit of understanding road safety risk of their networks.  This has included the delivery of AusRAP assessments on regional roads in over 40 local government areas and reaching out to local government engineers at Conferences like the IPWEA NSW State Conference held in March 2021.

Speaking during a road safety session at the IPWEA NSW Conference, David McTiernan, National Leader Transport Safety at ARRB, outlined how understanding road safety risk on local roads using AusRAP can assist the delivery of priorities areas in the new (draft) National Road Safety Strategy 2021 – 2030.

Referencing a recently completed pilot project involving over 677 km of mostly rural roads across three regional local councils, the information provided by a Star Rating assessment has been eagerly taken on by the Council road safety, traffic, and road asset engineers.

David said ‘With over 18,000 km of regional roads in NSW, and tens of thousands of kilometres more across the country, local council’s face a significant challenge in firstly understanding what level of risk exists, and then how to maximise the opportunity to mitigate that risk to benefit their local communities.’

In the new road safety strategy, the Australian Government is linking infrastructure funding to ‘measurable improvements in safety’.  The Star Rating of roads is a direct indicator of road safety and of outcomes associated with the funding of infrastructure programs and projects.

A key deliverable for the pilot project was ensuring the Council engineers took on the assessment and reporting for their own uses.  ARRB conducted a series of online workshops about the iRAP approach, and provided training in the use of ViDA so Council staff could review the coding and analysis in more depth.

ARRB will continue to work with local government to provide the tools and the skills required to ensure they can deliver safer road infrastructure to their communities.

Thanks to David McTiernan, National Leader Transport Safety from ARRB for providing this update.
Find David McTiernan on LinkedIn here

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