In Australia, Europe, Japan and the United State of America, the New Car Assessment Programs (NCAP) have been awarding star ratings to new cars based on their performance in crash tests for more than ten years. In Europe, this philosophy of independent assessment has been extended to roads, with the European Road Assessment Program (EuroRAP). EuroRAP employs two key protocols: mapping death and serious injury on main roads, to see where risk is high and where it is low, and assessing how well the user is protected when a crash does occur.
AusRAP is designed to build on the European equivalent, by applying the philosophy of independent assessment in the Australian context, which in many ways has distinct road environments, traffic patterns and governance. AusRAP?s model for reducing death and injury aligns closely with Sweden?s Vision Zero. It isbased on roads and vehicles that have forgiving designs so that when a crash does happen, both road and vehicle work together to mitigate against injury.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the methodology and early results of the application of the two AusRAP protocols: risk mapping, which assess historical crash rates; and the Road Protection Score (RPS), which assesses the inherent safety of roads. The paper is organised into three sections. First, we discuss some of the forces driving the development of AusRAP, which include community perceptions about road safety and the scale of the road safety problem in Australia. Following this, we discuss the methodology used for the first AusRAP protocol; risk mapping, using recent results for Queensland as an illustration. Finally, we briefly describe the work that has been completed thus far in developing a methodology for the second AusRAP protocol; the Road Protection Score (RPS). At this stage, a detailed discussion on the RPS is not possible, as much of the methodology is still being finalised.