To protect you, your whānau, and friends in the community, we’re improving roads and streets in Aotearoa with safety infrastructure.
Safety infrastructure is there to help you get to the places important to you, no matter how you choose to travel. It does this by reducing the likelihood and severity of a crash.
There are a range of safety infrastructure improvements you might come across in Aotearoa.
Median barriers, roundabouts and raised safety platforms substantially reduce the risk of you being killed or seriously injured if a crash does happen. These types of infrastructure tend to be more expensive and can take time to implement, however they provide lasting benefits for future generations.
Other treatments such as wide centrelines, rumble strips and skid resistance improvements support existing infrastructure and can used as a stepping stone towards more significant changes in the future.
Our design and delivery of safety improvements is underpinned by the Safe System approach, which acknowledges that as humans, we all make mistakes - but these mistakes don’t need to cost us our lives.
Infrastructure improvements on state highways and local roads play a key role in reducing deaths and serious injuries. They’re an important part of Road to Zero, Aotearoa New Zealand’s road safety strategy.
Road safety barriers give you a second chance, so a person’s mistake doesn’t result in loss of lives or life changing serious injuries.
Along the roadside, barriers can ‘catch’ your vehicle that has left the road, grabbing you before you hit something harder – like a pole, tree or ditch.
By physically separating you from opposing traffic, median barriers prevent head-on crashes which is how many people are killed or seriously injured on our roads. This means if you lose control or drift across the centreline, you’re going to be protected from significant harm.
This video shows a real-life example of how median barriers are protecting people in Aotearoa. Before crashing with a large truck in the opposing lane, the car approaching the centreline was stopped. Thanks to the flexible barrier in the middle, both drivers were able to go home to their families and friends and with no serious injuries.
Watch this video to see how a flexible median barrier stops a head-on crash:
At an intersection, a roundabout helps protect you by lowering the frequency and severity of a crash. Its design is effective as it encourages you to slow down and reduces the number of points where you could potentially crash with another vehicle.
If a crash does happen, you’re less likely to be seriously injured or killed because the speed and angle of impact is less damaging.
Where there are high levels of traffic, a roundabout might also have traffic signals to help manage traffic flow. Signalised roundabouts are especially effective in improving safety for people walking or cycling.
You must give way to vehicles already on the roundabout or entering the roundabout from a road to your right. Follow any instructions given by a sign, road marking or traffic lights.
Signal before entering and leaving the roundabout if you are turning left or right, as long as you can stay in control while signalling. If you’re driving straight through, don’t signal before entering the roundabout. Signal left when you pass the exit before the one you want.
Raised safety platforms encourage people driving to slow down when approaching an intersection or a pedestrian crossing and provide a safe environment for everyone to get around.
You will find raised safety platforms on roads and streets where people often walk, scooter or use mobility aids nearby, such as at key access points to parks, schools and waterfronts, and at intersections. Raised pedestrian crossings increase visibility, provide a continuous connection for people crossing and increases driver stopping behaviour.
They’re also used on higher speed roads and intersections to reduce the likelihood of serious crashes. This includes where people who walk or cycle are at a higher risk of being injured, such as around busy intersections or roundabouts.
Intersection speed zones are speed signs that activate when a vehicle is attempting make a turn at the intersection - this could be from the side or from the main road. If you approach the intersection and this sign is activated with the speed limit present, you must slow down to the speed shown through the intersection until you pass another speed limit sign.
The use of intersection speed zones helps to protect people turning.
As most rural intersection crashes involve turning and crossing vehicles colliding with high-speed traffic continuing through the road, we’re using intersection speed zones to reduce the number and severity of crashes.
Watch this video to see how intersection speed zones work:
Where there are median barriers, you may need to travel a bit further to turn right, or turnaround, to access a road or driveway.
Turnaround bays provide people driving, including in large vehicles, a place to turn safely.
Benefits of turnaround bays include:
Turnaround bays are going to become more common as more median barrier is installed across Aotearoa. They will be located on a state highway or on connecting local roads.
Watch this video to see how you use a turnaround bay on a state highway:
Wide centrelines are two lines marked in the centre of the road that keep opposing traffic further apart than standard centreline markings.
Widening the centreline means more space between you and oncoming vehicles. It’s a simple and effective way to visually create more space between vehicles and can help prevent a potential crash if someone makes a mistake.
They’re typically used on rural roads and are often used to prepare for the potential future installation of a median barrier, where there are changes in traffic growth or crash risk.
Also known as Audio Tactile Pavement Markings (ATPM), rumble strips are a raised road marking on the painted lines along the edge and/or centrelines of the road. They reflect well at night and in wet conditions.
If you’re tired or distracted, rumble strips will give you a wake-up call as the raised markings make a rumbling sound when driven over.
When laid along road edges and centrelines, rumble strips help prevent run-off road crashes and head-on crashes and help to keep people driving in their lanes. On the inside of curved roads, they also discourage people from cutting corners.
Skid resistance is vital in keeping people safe on our roads especially in wet road conditions. Skid resistance is where the surface of road is textured. If you’re driving, it helps you keep your vehicle on the road and stop more easily when braking.
To support other safety infrastructure, further skid resistance improvements may be needed where braking commonly occurs, such as on the approaches to intersections, roundabouts, pedestrian crossings and on bends or steep grades to help reduce crashes.
We are delivering a new approach to safety cameras to help reduce the number of people being killed and seriously injured on our roads.
Safety cameras and speed cameras help to make our roads safer for all users by encouraging people to drive at the posted speed limit.
Speed makes a big difference to the outcomes of a crash, for you and everyone else involved. Reducing your speed can mean the difference between death, serious injury, and walking away unharmed from a crash.
People make mistakes, and some crashes will continue to happen, but these mistakes don’t need to result in death or serious injury.
Waka Kotahi is keeping our communities safe and encouraging people to make safe choices while driving by increasing the number and type of safety cameras on high-risk roads in Aotearoa.
Safety cameras detect speeding in a range of ways depending on the camera type. When they detect someone speeding a safety advisory notice or infringement notice will be issued. Cameras are carefully tested and calibrated to ensure they accurately detect speeding.
You can expect to see safety cameras signposted in different ways and at specific high-risk locations, to ensure that they are effective in deterring people from exceeding speed limits. Some safety cameras will be signposted, and others won’t depending on the camera type and location.