The Challenge

In terms of length of its roading, DOC is one of the largest road controlling authorities (RCAs) in New Zealand, managing roads ranging from two-way sealed roads to back country 4WD tracks. DOC’s road network is a small component of the infrastructure it maintains, besides walking tracks, huts and forests, yet these roads provide an essential transport link to many popular tourist and recreation destinations. DOC and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency wanted to have confidence investing in DOC roads, and improve the safety of these roads and visitor experience when travelling to visitor and heritage sites. 

The Solution and Outcome

Abley developed a framework for assessing the safety risk of DOC roads. Generally, crash risk on roads is assessed through previous crash data and proactive data collection like personal and collective risk and Infrastructure Risk Ratings (IRR). It is difficult to accurately estimate the number and severity of crashes on DOC roads due to a large proportion of crashes being under-reported, the very low traffic volumes and the short length of individual corridors that make up the DOC road network. Therefore, Abley developed a proactive risk assessment framework that does not rely heavily on crash data to assess the risk of future crashes on the DOC road network. Abley also made a number of speed management recommendations.

The visitor experience is also important to DOC. Abley developed a Journey Management Plan to help DOC improve information for people travelling on DOC roads. This involved an assessment of the current visitor experience and suggested key improvements, such as producing better information about DOC roads, regular assessment of the customer experience and improving signage and way finding information.    

The Outcome

The results of these measures mean't Abley helped the Department of Conservation (DOC) improve road safety and visitor experience when travelling to key tourist destinations and recreational areas all over New Zealand.