Published: Sep 22, 2017

Making country and local roads safer

Transport for NSW is teaming up with 130 councils across the state to improve the safety of local government roads.

Transport for NSW is teaming up with 130 councils across the state to improve the safety of local government roads.

It is providing funding for road safety training for representatives from every local council in NSW in a bid to better equip them to make local roads safer.

“The Government invests millions of dollars every year to improve our roads and reduce crashes and fatalities,” Centre for Road Safety Executive Director Bernard Carlon said.

“But we also invest in people. That’s what this training support is all about.

“The vast majority of roads in NSW – some 160,000 out of the total 180,000 kilometres of road – are managed by local government, so there is a lot of ground for our councils to cover.

“While the lion’s share of total travel occurs along freeways, highways and other Federal and State roads, the crash figures for local roads are quite alarming. Despite representing only 20 per cent of the state’s total travel, these roads are the scene for around 45 per cent of all fatal and serious injury crashes.

“We need to bring these figures down, especially on country roads, where 254 people lost their lives last year. That’s two thirds of the total road toll.”

In assessing what can be done to improve road safety at a local level, the ability to conduct safety audits on new and existing roads has been identified as a major factor.

A road safety audit is a formal examination of proposed or existing roads and road related areas to identify road safety deficiencies and areas of risk that could lead to road crashes.

Currently, 70 people representing different local councils have registered for the first round of training in Sydney and Wagga Wagga from August to October, However, due to the increase interest in the training we are looking into providing the workshop in Dubbo and the North Coast.

Transport for NSW has committed $380,000 to fund training for two staff from each council. The training will be delivered by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, the sole provider of safety audit training in NSW.

“In the long run, this support is going to save councils money because they will have no need to engage outside auditors,” Mr Carlon said.

“But far more importantly, by providing them with in-house expertise, they will have the ability to incorporate road safety audits into their planning, maintenance, management and monitoring works.

“Together, we can work towards a future with zero fatalities on our roads.”

Transport for NSW funds a range of ongoing programs to improve road safety at the local level as part of implementing the NSW Road Safety Strategy 2012-2021. These include $5 million per year in co-funding for road safety officers and projects under the Local Government Road Safety Program, and $9 million per year for the Safer Local Government Roads Program which invests in targeted infrastructure to improve safety on local roads.