Refocussing the RTA: Enhancing Road Safety in the Road Development Program
The New South Wales Government?s State Plan identifies road safety as one of its key priorities. On 28 May 2007, the Minister for Roads announced the establishment of the NSW Centre for Road Safety. The centre is working to become a world-class road safety centre for policy development, high-level research, advice and delivery of behaviour change strategies.
The Centre for Road Safety utilises the Safe Systems Partnerships approach to road safety when developing strategies and policies. The 'safe systems' approach underpins the current national road safety strategy. This approach promotes the building of a road transport system where fatal and serious injury crashes are not acceptable, recognises that safe travel is a shared responsibility between road users and road system designers/operators, and acknowledges that driver errors should not result in fatal or serious injury. The integrated elements of the 'safe system' include road and roadside infrastructure, vehicles, vehicle speeds (including speed limits) and compliance of road users with the law. The interplay of these elements, supported by strong road safety management systems, delivers sustained improvements in road safety.
While there have been significant reductions in the NSW road toll, the creation of the NSW Centre for Road Safety presented the RTA with an important opportunity to reduce the road toll even further. In January 2007 the RTA?s Chief Executive issued ?The Road Safety Challenge: Refocusing the RTA? requiring every facet of business to take responsibility for road safety.
This paper illustrates how a major area of business, the Major Infrastructure Directorate has mainstreamed road safety. The Major Infrastructure Directorate is responsible for managing and implementing the RTA?s Road Development Program with a budget of $1.8billion in 2008/09. This Directorate plans, designs and delivers major projects that contribute to the safer roads component of the ?safe systems? approach, with significant input from road safety professionals.