A special vehicle drove Dunedin and Christchurch roads recently, recording safety levels as part of a new road safety initiative called KiwiRAP Urban.
The KiwiRap van is loaded with technology, including cameras to record safety data to help ensure the more accurate targeting of road safety improvements on both highway and local road networks.
KiwiRAP, is a world-leading road assessment programme the Transport Agency has used since 2008 to measure the safety of New Zealand’s highways.
KiwiRAP Urban applies the same methods to rate the safety and crash risks on selected urban roads managed by local authorities and the Transport Agency.
Dunedin based Transport Agency Sneior Road Safety Engineer Roy Johnston this form of KiwiRap will provide both organisations with a much clearer picture of where road safety risks are highest on their road networks and enable them to target safety measures where they are needed most.
“It’s another step towards having safer roads and, ultimately, fewer people injured from crashes across the entire road network in the Dunedin area.”
The van took a video of its journeys over roads in the city and the data gathered from this will be analysed to give roads a 1 to 5 star rating. The ratings will measure 62 items such as the lane width of a road, how much visibility drivers have, and any roadside hazards such as power poles, ditches or trees. Pedestrians, cyclists and motor cyclists safety on these roads are also rated.
Dunedin and Christchurch are among the first areas to run with KiwiRAP Urban. The crash risk maps for these areas are due out shortly and are expected to be a great tool to help urban areas make their roads safer.
Roy says the Government’s Safer Journeys strategy sets a clear vision of creating a road system increasingly free of serious injuries and deaths by 2020. Improving the safety of roads and roadsides is a key pillar of this strategy, and KiwiRAP is helping make this a reality.
Roy said a good example of this is the KiwiRAP highway assessment programme, where the initial report in 2008 identified New Zealand’s highest risk highways. This information was them used to target measures that were instrumental in a 30% reduction in fatal and serious crashes on these highways in the following 5 years. A similar result on urban road networks would be a huge step toward Safer Journey’s for everyone.