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New Zealand to host International Safer Roads Conference 2017

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Experts and industry practitioners from across the globe will meet in Auckland this month to discuss the latest research and innovations designed to make travel on roads safer and more sustainable.

The Safer Roads conference alternates between the northern and southern hemispheres every three years. The conference has not been held in New Zealand since 2005. 

Organising Committee Chair, and NZ Transport Agency representative, Mark Owen says the discussions and information shared at previous conferences have resulted in improvements in road surface safety and sustainability. 

“The conference has a focus on road surfaces, cycleways and footpaths, and the role they play in safety,” says Mr Owen. 

“People are aware of the work being done to make vehicles safer, and to encourage safer driving, cycling and walking, but few people are aware of the innovation and investment going into helping make the actual surfaces safer.”

“For example, from research into road surfaces we have been able to use materials that improve the skid resistance of the road surface in wet and rainy conditions.  As a result, between 2005 and 2016 there was a 36 percent reduction in serious crashes, and a 24 percent reduction in minor crashes on highways when wet in New Zealand,” says Mr Owen. 

Speakers from more than 12 countries, including New Zealand, are presenting on a range of topics at the conference, including the use of by-products from other industries to make more skid resistant road surfaces, partnerships with meteorologists to improve weather forecasting and road treatment, and the latest news on how to design roads for driverless cars. Conference sessions will also look at motorcycle and cycle safety, shared zones, pedestrian areas, road safety, road surface measurement, monitoring and treatment, road markings, innovation and research advancements, business sustainability and knowledge transfer, quality and value for money.

"We want to find better ways to improve the performance, sustainability, safety and reliability of the global road surface network.  It's not only the road surface for vehicles, but also taking into consideration cycleways, pedestrian footways, road signage and markings and how they interrelate to deliver a Safe System approach." 

Specialist road surface measuring and treatment equipment will be on display at the conference.  

“We’re fortunate to be hosting this year’s conference right here in Auckland. Whether you are from a local council, a supplier, central government, a contractor, or from a university or research institute, the scope of the conference and its location being ‘on our doorstep’ makes it even more attractive.” 

"The conference provides a forum to share ideas and continue the significant gains that have made to date in reducing road trauma." 

The conference runs from Sunday 21 May to Wednesday 24 May at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre. 

To be kept informed about the programme, activities and key speakers, register your interest at www.saferroads.co.nz(external link)  or download the app. 

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