A Safe System Assessment (SSA) Framework is a procedure developed by Austroads in 2016 to help road agencies methodically consider Safe System objectives in road infrastructure projects.
SSA will only need to be conducted at one stage of project development but utilised as development and design proceeds. However, if there are subsequent changes to the design scope that are likely to impact on Safe System alignment, the SSA should be reviewed and repeated as necessary. SSA and road safety audit (RSA) should be used during project planning and design as complementary tools to maximise road safety outcomes. VicRoads shows a suggested framework for when to undertake a SSA and RSA.
The process evaluates seven types of crash risk, and considers the exposure, likelihood and severity of each crash type on a 0 to 4 scale for each attribute. A site/proposal with a completely safe system would result in an SSA score of zero, while one with the worst ratings across all crash attributes would score 448. These numbers do not directly relate to any particular crash metric; rather they simply provide a way to determine relative changes in safety at or between sites.
SSA is still a relatively new process in New Zealand, with New Zealand-specific guidelines currently being developed. As such, there is limited experience and use of the process by practitioners to date, or much by way of systematic comparison of ratings derived by different practitioners. Still, with those caveats in mind, it does provide a useful way to consider existing safety deficiencies at a site and the possible ways to improve these. The fact that cycling crashes are specifically identified as one of the seven assessment categories (as are crashes involving pedestrians) ensures that cycling safety is not ignored in the evaluation process.
Safe System Assessment training is available in New Zealand. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
 Turner, B., Jurewicz, C.., Pratt, K., Corben, B., Woolley, J. (2016). Safe System Assessment Framework(external link). Austroads Publication No. AP-R509-16, Feb 2016. Austroads Research Report AP-R509-16
 VicRoads. (2018). Safe System Assessment Guidelines(external link)