Auckland Transport (AT) is proposing to invest NZ$700m (US$484m) in road safety initiatives to reduce death and serious injury on roads in New Zealand’s largest and most populous urban area.
Latest figures show that in the past three years (2014-2017) road deaths and serious injuries in Auckland have increased at more than five times the rate of travel, and more than three times the rate of the rest of New Zealand. On average, there is at least one death or serious injury on Auckland’s roads every day. The funding was signaled in the draft Regional Land Transport Plan, which was open for public consultation until May 14, and feedback will now be analyzed before the final budgets are approved.
AT is proposing an ambitious safety infrastructure acceleration program that is estimated to reduce deaths and serious injuries by up to 150 (15-20%) over three years. This includes reducing speed limits and installing traffic calming treatments on at least 10% of the city’s road network, better and safer pedestrian infrastructure, such as crossings and islands, safety cameras, and high friction road surfacing that reduces the risk of skidding. In addition, AT will increase the number of high-risk intersections that will receive safety improvements. The refreshed approach has been informed by an independent review of road safety issues and responses, commissioned by the AT Board in 2017.
Auckland City Council and AT attended the Associate Minister’s National Road Safety Summit in April, which brought together local government representatives from all over the country to discuss the road safety challenge facing New Zealand. AT’s own actions include an internal training program on road safety challenges and interventions to the agency’s entire organization, including the AT Board and executive leadership team. In line with central government’s update of its ‘Safer Journeys’ road safety strategy, AT is also working to update the organization’s road safety strategy to be in line with Vision Zero principals.
“In the past three years, deaths and serious injuries on Auckland roads have increased by more than 70% – that’s appalling and unacceptable,” noted Auckland’s Mayor, Phil Goff. “Compared with other international cities, we have one of the highest rates of pedestrian, cyclist and motorcyclist fatality rates. That demands action and we will be investing heavily in road safety measures with the regional fuel tax over the next 10 years, directly and indirectly contributing over half a billion dollars more into road safety.”
NZ Associate Minister of Transport, Julie Anne Genter said, “It’s unacceptable that so many Aucklanders are killed or seriously injured simply moving around the city. It is 100% possible to make our streets safer, so I’m really pleased to see Auckland Transport prioritizing this work.”