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$700m boost to road safety in Auckland

Published: 16 May 2018

Auckland Transport is proposing to invest $700 million in road safety initiatives to reduce death and serious injury on Auckland’s roads.

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 is signalled in the draft Regional Land Transport Plan, which was open for public consultation until 14 May. Feedback will now be analysed before final budgets are approved.

Auckland road toll unacceptable: mayor

Mayor Phil Goff says, “In the last three years deaths and serious injuries on Auckland roads have increased by over 70 per cent. That’s appalling and unacceptable.

“Like other Aucklanders, I’ve lost family members and friends in road fatalities. I understand the trauma that causes at a human level and the enormous social and economic costs that road crashes impose on all of us.

“Compared to 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.”

Auckland Transport to work with government

Auckland Transport chair Lester Levy says that the organisation is aligning its priorities and resources with the recently released draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS), which places a much greater emphasis on road safety.

“Delivering safe roads is a partnership between central and local government. We are working collaboratively together to make changes that protect life on our road network. The rise that we have seen in deaths and serious injuries over the past four years is completely unacceptable and it is time for change,” says Dr Levy.

Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter, says, “It’s unacceptable that so many Aucklanders are killed or seriously injured simply moving around the city. It is 100 per cent possible to make our streets safer so I’m really pleased to see Auckland Transport prioritising this work.”

Auckland Council and AT attended a national Road Safety Summit held in April by the Associate Minister for Transport, Julie Anne Genter. The summit brought together local government representatives from all over New Zealand to discuss the road safety challenge facing New Zealand. Auckland Transport’s own actions include an internal training programme on road safety challenges and interventions to the entire business including the AT Board and Executive Leadership Team.

AT to follow Vision Zero approach

In line with central government’s update of their road safety strategy, Safer Journeys, AT is also working to update the organisation’s road safety strategy to be in line with Vision Zero principals. Dr Levy says, “Vision Zero is an approach to road safety that can be summarised in one sentence: no loss of life on the roads is acceptable. It began in Sweden and has grown into a global movement and we want to use the principles to save lives on the Auckland and New Zealand road network that has been done elsewhere.”

“To do this, we must have strong partnerships between local agencies like Auckland Transport and Government agencies with a stake in road safety such as the New Zealand Transport Agency, NZ Police and ACC.”

Auckland Transport is also proposing an ambitious safety infrastructure acceleration programme 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 roading network, better and safer pedestrian infrastructure (e.g. crossings), safety cameras, and high friction road surfacing which 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.