Since 2013, deaths and serious injuries on roads have been rising in NZ. The injury crash rate on local roads is more than 100% higher than on state highways. In 2017, Abley worked with the NZ Transport Agency to identify a programme of safety improvements for the local road network, which was projected to reduce 169 deaths and serious injuries annually. Research was undertaken to understand how proposed local government investment matched to this programme of safety improvements.
A range of territorial authorities, representing a cross section of urban, rural, large and small authorities were selected for closer examination. Proposed investment in Transport Investment Online (TIO) for each authority was examined and compared with the proposed programme of safety improvements. The results of this matching exercise were presented to each authority at follow up workshops, to understand the challenges they face in achieving road safety outcomes.
Consistent themes were identified across the territorial authorities relating to their challenges in identifying, programming, funding and delivering road safety projects. Key themes included the level of the funding assistance rate, staff resourcing both at local authority level and at the interface with the NZ Transport Agency, gaining stakeholder support, and ability to access and use information tools. Identified themes were available to determine how best to support local authorities in future delivery of the Safe Networks Programme.