Indictment on poor practice
Yesterday a rather scathing independent report came out commissioned by the Board of Auckland Transport in safety practices and why death and injury rates were increasing sharply in Auckland.
Before I post the presser this was from Greater Auckland and their take on it:
So Auckland Transport’s reactive planning finally comes under the spotlight and not soon enough. Given I have asked for safety improvements such as refuge islands on Cavendish Drive and slip lane removals on the Great South Road in Takanini only for Auckland Transport engineers to say no due to car flow and lack of demand (well no shit given how dangerous it is to cross in the first place) I should go ask AT to go and do them again in light of the scathing report.
This is the presser:
Auckland Transport is proposing to invest $700 million in road safety initiatives to reduce death and serious injury on Auckland’s roads.
Latest figures show that in the past three years (2014-2017) road deaths and serious injuries in Auckland have increased at more than five times the rate of travel and more than three times the rate of the rest of New Zealand. On average, there is at least one death or serious injury on Auckland’s roads every day.
The funding is signalled in the draft Regional Land Transport Plan, which was open for public consultation until 14 May. Feedback will now be analysed before final budgets are approved.
Mayor Phil Goff says, “In the past three years deaths and serious injuries on Auckland roads have increased by more than 70 per cent, that’s appalling and unacceptable.
“Like other Aucklanders, I’ve lost family members and friends in road fatalities. I understand the trauma that it causes at a human level and the enormous social and economic costs that road crashes impose on all of us.
“Compared to other international cities, we have one of the highest rates of pedestrian, cyclist and motorcyclist fatality rates.
“That demands action and we will be investing heavily in road safety measures with the regional fuel tax over the next 10 years, directly and indirectly contributing over half a billion dollars more into road safety.”
Chairman of Auckland Transport, Dr Lester Levy says that the organisation is aligning its priorities and resources with the recently released draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS), which places a much greater emphasis on road safety.
“Delivering safe roads is a partnership between central and local government. We are working collaboratively together to make changes that protect life on our road network. The rise that we have seen in deaths and serious injuries over the past four years is completely unacceptable and it is time for change.”
Associate Minister of Transport, Julie Anne Genter says, “It’s unacceptable that so many Aucklanders are killed or seriously injured simply moving around the city. It is 100 per cent possible to make our streets safer so I’m really pleased to see Auckland Transport prioritising this work.”
Auckland Council and AT attended the Associate Minister’s National Road Safety Summit in April, it brought together local government representatives from all over New Zealand to discuss the road safety challenge facing New Zealand.
Auckland Transport’s own actions include an internal training programme on road safety challenges and interventions to the entire business including the AT Board and Executive Leadership Team.
In line with central government’s update of its road safety strategy, Safer Journeys, AT is also working to update the organisation’s road safety strategy to be in line with Vision Zero principals. Dr Levy says, “Vision Zero is an approach to road safety that can be summarised in one sentence: no loss of life on the roads is acceptable. It began in Sweden and has grown into a global movement and we want to use the principles to save lives on the Auckland and New Zealand road network that has been done elsewhere.
“To do this, we must have strong partnerships between local agencies like Auckland Transport and Government agencies with a stake in road safety such as the New Zealand Transport Agency, NZ Police and ACC.”
Auckland Transport is also proposing an ambitious safety infrastructure acceleration programme estimated to reduce deaths and serious injuries by up to 150 (15-20 per cent) over three years. This includes reducing speed limits and installing traffic calming treatments on at least 10 per cent of the roading network, better and safer pedestrian infrastructure (e.g. crossings), safety cameras, and high friction road surfacing which reduces the risk of skidding.
In addition, AT will increase the number of high-risk intersections that will receive safety improvements.
The refreshed approach has been informed by an independent review of road safety issues and responses, commissioned by the AT Board in 2017.
Source: Auckland Transport
Speaking of Road Safety
Some key extracts from the report via Greater Auckland who published them:
Auckland has had no new road safety strategy approved since AT was formed. Safety on the road network has not been a priority at AT in that time. Roadsafe Auckland has tried to function within limited parameters over the last seven years, but decisions to reduce dedicated road policing resources in late 2016 (later reversed but still causing harm as police struggle to re-establish road policing capacity) laid bare the weaknesses in commitment to the safety of those using New Zealand and Auckland’s roads. It has been “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
It is difficult to believe that Aucklanders are not concerned about the remarkable escalation in road crash deaths and serious injuries in recent years. But how does Auckland recover from this blight?
quote context: http://pllqt.it/yQFCWf
Within AT’s own operations there is a major adjustment required to the way that safety is understood and applied across the business in a sustainable way.
Proactive road safety activity has not been a central part of AT’s way of operating and staff at senior and middle levels confirmed this. They recognise this has to change and were without exception ready to do what is required to gain recognition for Auckland over the years ahead as a safe place for all road users. Auckland Transport has a considerable opportunity.
quote context: http://pllqt.it/o0jRds
Greater Auckland finally says:
So the report calls out AT not just for their inaction in areas where they have direct responsibility for but also for their failure to advocate to central government (and the public) on the weaknesses in the current plans and the opportunities for improvement.
quote context: http://pllqt.it/uOuwn0
All of the above quotes were picked up from the Tweets at the top of the post.
So pretty much Auckland Transport and the former Government bordered being a omnishambles when it came to road safety and the consequences could not be more stark if it tried.
Thankfully the new Government Policy Statement has a massive focus on Safety while Roads of National Significance have been dumped out the door.
I wonder if I should ping AT again for my refuge islands and slip lane removals after the Infrastructure division said NO due to traffic flow comes first and lack of demand (aka reactive planning) now that AT is to engage on PROACTIVE Planning? I think I might.