New tool for measuring road safety

Researchers from The University of Western Australia (UWA) have been tasked with developing a tool for local governments to use in assessing the safety of local roads.

UWA and Western Australian Local Government Association’s (WALGA) RoadWise received funding from the Australian Government Office of Road Safety’s Road Safety Innovation Fund to identify a suitable safety ratings tool that could evaluate the safety performance of WA’s local roads network.

The aim is for the Safety Ratings for Local Roads project to help inform decisions on the state’s infrastructure projects and prioritise investment.

UWA’s Western Australian Centre for Road Safety Research will review existing road safety ratings tools in consultation with local governments and other stakeholders to establish the key criteria for a local government road safety rating tool.

Associate Professor Paul Roberts said the team was looking forward to working with WALGA’s RoadWise.

“Implementing a safety rating tool will provide local governments with high level information about their road network and support strategic decision-making to improve the safety performance of their road network,” Roberts said.

Professor Lynn Meuleners, Director of the Western Australian Centre for Road Safety Research, adds that the Centre was delighted to be working with WALGA and RoadWise on the initiative.

“Local government roads comprise more than 80 per cent of the road network in WA and incur nearly 60 per cent of the fatalities and serious injuries,” Meuleners said.

“It is critical to develop tools that are practically applicable, with special attention to the resourcing and capability constraints often faced by local governments.”

WALGA President and Mayor of the City of Wanneroo Tracey Roberts said the new project would provide an evidence base for assessing the safety of local roads and support local governments to prioritise infrastructure projects which had the largest impact on reducing death and serious injuries.

The project will run over three years with completion due by mid-2023.


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