Roading engineers to meet and learn about new road safety approach

Thursday 22 November 2012, 6:41PM

By Invercargill City Council



Local authority roading engineers from throughout Southland will meet tomorrow to take part in a new “Safe System to Road Safety” workshop, tomorrow at Environment Southland.

Invercargill City Council Roading Manager Russell Pearson said the workshop aimed to train engineers on the new “Safe System” approach to road safety.

“It’s a whole new philosophy to road safety and Southland Councils want to gain as much knowledge as we can about how to implement the new system to the roads in our region,” Mr Pearson said.

The new Safe System approach to road safety has been outlined in the Government’s strategy for road safety, Safer Journeys is to be implemented nationwide.

This one-day workshop, jointly organised by Invercargill, Gore and Southland District councils along with the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) and Environment Southland, will cover how to devise solutions and apply the principles and elements to typical traffic situations, so that a Safe System is created.

“We have organised it as we are aware of the importance of implementing the new system Southland-wide which aims to raise and shift the awareness of road safety for practitioners in Southland.”

The Safe System approach originated in several European countries (notably the Netherlands and Sweden) and builds on existing road safety interventions but reframes the way in which road safety is viewed and managed in the community, he said.

Mr Pearson said it addressed all elements of the road transport system to ensure crash levels were below what would cause fatal or serious injury.

“It requires acceptance of shared overall responsibilities and accountability between system designers and road users and encourages developing innovative interventions and new partnerships necessary to achieve better road safety.”

Prior to the Safer Journeys strategy New Zealand’s fatality rate was double that of the safest nations (United Kingdom, Sweden and the Netherlands), he said.

“A new way of thinking about managing road risk and a new level of ambition is required to ensure that the number of road deaths and serious injuries are reduced.”