A safe system based approach to selection of clear zones, safety barriers and other roadside treatments
On average, 560 fatal run-off-road crashes occur annually in Australia and 135 in New Zealand. In addition, there are more than 14,000 run-off-road crashes causing injuries each year across both countries. In rural areas, run-off-road casualty crashes constitute 50-60% of all casualty crashes. Their severity is particularly high with more than half of those involved sustaining fatal or serious injuries. This paper reviews the existing approach to roadside hazard risk assessment, selection of clear zones and hazard treatments. It proposes a modified approach to roadside safety evaluation and management. It is a methodology based on statistical modelling of run-off-road casualty crashes, and application of locally developed crash modification factors and severity indices. Clear zones, safety barriers and other roadside design/treatment options are evaluated with a view to minimise fatal and serious injuries – the key Safe System objective. The paper concludes with a practical demonstration of the proposed approach. The paper is based on findings from a four-year Austroads research project into improving roadside safety in the Safe System context.