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Road safety is a focus area of the 2015–18 National Land Transport Programme. It supports a sector-wide focus on creating a transport system increasingly free from death and serious injury.

Over the next three years, $3.2bn is being invested in road safety, which is around 23% of the total programme. This equates to an increased investment in safety of $550m compared to 2012–15.

The investment gives effect to the Government Policy Statement to improve road safety, embed the Safe System approach, and reduce deaths and serious injuries.

Improving safety across all four parts of the system – roads and roadsides, speeds, road use, and vehicles – is at the heart of the NZ Transport Agency’s commitment to reducing road trauma. The focus is on creating a more forgiving road system, where making a mistake on the road should not cost a life or cause serious injury.

Since 2009, the number of people killed or seriously injured, measured in terms of per kilometre travelled, has reduced significantly, albeit with some annual variations. This means there is a lower average personal risk of being killed, or seriously injured, while using our land transport networks.

To maintain the rate of progress, investment in the 2015–18 NLTP continues across all four parts of the Safe System targeted at risk. Many investment proposals work across multiple aspects.

Persons killed or seriously injured per 100 million vehicle kilometres

Safer speeds that are right for the road

Managing speed on the network continues to be a priority for the Transport Agency for 2015–18. The speeds people travel at are not always appropriate for the design, purpose and safety level of many of our roads.

Small reductions in speed can make a big difference. By 2019, the Transport Agency aims to reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths on high-risk roads by 135 (10%) and reduce social costs by $130m.

Encouraging safer road use

Road safety promotion

Road safety promotion programmes complement investment in infrastructure, regulatory change and road policing. They target road user behaviour through a range of approaches – incorporating education, promotion and advertising.

During the 2015–18 NLTP, $132m will be invested in road safety promotion activities, $67m in national activities by the Transport Agency and the balance, $65m, in local activities delivered by councils throughout the country.

NZ Police

The recommended allocation for road policing has increased by 6% to $960m in 2015–18. The programme is intended to give NZ Police greater flexibility to target resources to road safety risk. For 2015/16, $313m has been approved to target priorities.

The NZ Police programme gives priority to speed, alcohol and drug-impaired driving, restraints, high-risk drivers and dangerous driving, in line with the Safe System approach.

Building and maintaining safer roads and roadsides

The Transport Agency is continuing to implement road and roadside improvements initiated in the previous Safer Journeys action plans, including high-risk intersections and rural roads.

State highways

A total of $1.3bn will be invested in improvements and maintenance.

Targeted investment is needed to make tangible safety gains. One example is the South Auckland to Tauranga via Waihi journey, which will have 67% of its investment targeting a reduction of 60 serious injuries and deaths within the next decade. The Whangarei to North Auckland journey will have 52% of its investment directed at safety benefits.

The regional improvements activity class invests in important roads outside the major urban areas to deliver better access to markets, improved resilience and a significant range of safety work. Of the $225m planned investment, 46% is targeted towards the delivery of safety benefits translating to 92 fewer serious injuries and deaths over 10 years.

Local roads

Local authorities will be co-investing in around $4bn of local road maintenance and improvements with the Transport Agency.

Safer journeys for cyclists

The 2015–18 NLTP will see around $251m invested in cycling and walking, including funding from the Urban Cycleways Programme. It is estimated that between $350m and $400m will be invested in cycling in the three years to 2018. This also includes investment in cycling and walking facilities incorporated in state highway and local road projects, as well as projects outside the NLTP, such as the New Zealand Cycle Trail. This is aimed at improving walking and cycling infrastructure (both urban and rural) and support programmes such as cycle skills training, national guidelines for cycling infrastructure design and public education campaigns to promote sharing the road safely. The key recommendations of the Cycling Safety Panel Report from 2014 are embedded in this work.

Encouraging safer vehicles

The 2015–18 NLTP will continue to fund two national road safety promotion campaigns related to safer vehicles.

Rightcar(external link)  encourages buyers to choose safer and more economical cars. A car with better safety features can reduce the risk of being in a crash and improve the chance of surviving one.

The ‘Check your car’ campaign encourages people to check their vehicles on a regular basis and seek expert advice if they are concerned about anything. The campaign focuses on simple steps vehicle owners can take to ensure their car is as safe as it can be.

NZ Police will continue with warrant of fitness and certificate of fitness enforcement as part of other activities.

Case studies


Community Driver Mentor Programme

The Community Driver Mentor Programme in Gisborne has been a great success story for the region. The programme is a significant safety initiative funded by the Transport Agency, the New Zealand AA, NZ Police and sponsors Chevron (Caltex) and Hyundai New Zealand.

Future streets – Te Ara Mua

A number of organisations, including Auckland Transport and the Transport Agency, have teamed up with the Mangere–Otahuhu local board to fund an innovative community safety project called Te Ara Mua (Future Streets).

Investing in motorcycle safety

The 130 kilometre long Southern Coromandel loop is a magnet for motorcyclists. It combines breath-taking scenery with twisting roads and tight corners that really test a motorcyclist’s skill.

State Highway 2 safety

Driving on State Highway 2 north of Tauranga requires careful concentration. The road to Katikati is a narrow two-lane rural highway with many direct property and road accesses.

Smart motorway

Construction is underway to create New Zealand’s first smart motorway on Wellington’s urban motorway between Johnsonville and the Terrace Tunnel.

Improving network safety and resilience

Travel over the Southern Region’s alpine passes, such as State Highway 73 that connects Canterbury to the West Coast, can be challenging for the tourists, freight drivers and locals who traverse them. As the highways are often cut into the side of steep, mountainous terrain they are narrow and prone to rock falls and slips during periods of rain or snow.

Visiting Driver Safety project

The Visiting Drivers Project is one example of the Transport Agency, its road safety partners and the tourism industry working together. The focus of the project is on improving road safety for visiting drivers, while maintaining our reputation as an attractive and safe tourist destination.

Southern Coromandel Motorcycle Safety Demonstration Project

The 130 kilometre-long Southern Coromandel loop is a magnet for motorcyclists. It combines breathtaking scenery with twisting roads and tight corners.

NZ Transport Agency offers scholarship to improve workplace health and safety

The NZ Transport Agency is showing its commitment to helping improve workplace health and safety through the creation of a new scholarship scheme for those working in the roading construction industry.

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