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Mobility & Transport - Road Safety

Australia and New Zealand

 

Australia and New Zealand

Organization

In November 2001, the Victorian Government started the arrive alive!-road safety strategy with the aim of having reduced road trauma by 20 percent in 2007 (http://www.arrivealive.vic.gov.au/). Under this programme speed enforcement efforts were increased, with more mobile speed camera hours, new fixed speed camera locations and a reduction in the enforcement threshold. In Victoria, the four government agencies that form the "road safety partnership" are VicRoads, Victoria Police, the Department of Justice and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). Each agency has specific responsibilities in the area of speed enforcement, but many of these responsibilities are undertaken in consultation or in partnership with the other road safety partners, local government and non-governmental organisations.

In New Zealand, the National Road Safety Committee (NSCR) is the principal inter-agency forum for communicating and agreeing top level strategy between agencies on matters related to road safety [41]. The Secretary for Transport, the Commissioner of the Police, the Chief Executives of Land Transport New Zealand, the Local Government New Zealand, the Crashes Compensation Corporation and Transit New Zealand all participate in this committee. The Director General of Health, the Secretary for Justice, and the Secretary for Labour are associate members. The Road Safety to 2010 strategy indicates the direction for road safety in New Zealand and describes the road safety targets for 2010.

Effects

Evaluation of the Victorian road safety strategy by the Auditor General Victoria showed favourable results [2]. In the years 2002-2005 there was a reduction in fatalities of around 16%, and approximately 8% in serious injuries. Many factors contributed to these changes, but it is very likely that reduced travel speeds have been a major contributor. The most significant trauma reductions were obtained in metropolitan Melbourne's low speed zones, where fatalities decreased by around 40% and serious injuries by 15%. This reduction corresponded with a reduction in free travel speeds in these zones. Travel speeds in both metropolitan Melbourne and country 100 and 110 km/h speed zones remained relatively stable over time, and likewise the trauma reductions on these roads were small. Finally, there have been large decreases in fatalities and serious injuries for pedestrians, where urban speeds are a major determinant of severity.

Overtly operated mobile speed cameras have been used in New Zealand since late 1993. Their operation has been confined to specific sites (called 'speed camera areas') which are mainly road sections with a record of speed-related crashes. A trial of hidden speed cameras began in mid-1997 in 100 km/h speed limit areas in one of New Zealand's four Police regions. Although motorists could not see the cameras, publicity and warning signs alerted them that they were entering a speed-camera zone.Keall et al. [39] found an additional reduction of mobile inconspicuous cameras of 17% for injury crashes (not significant) and 31% for casualties in a 2-year period (significant), as compared to a conspicuous camera programme only, running elsewhere in New Zealand. In that study, the generalized effects of the extra hidden camera programme (extending to the whole trial area containing (publicly) open rural roads, including roads with and without conspicuous camera operations) were estimated as an 11% reduction in crashes and a 19% reduction in casualties (both significant).

Success factors

In Australia and New Zealand, speed enforcement activities are performed by partnerships between national, regional and local agencies that all have an interest in road safety. According to the association of Australian and New Zealand road transport and traffic authorities [3] the following elements of speed enforcement are very important for success:

  • Finding a balance between crash based, intelligence driven targeted operations, and managed targeting to wider areas in a random nature. A complete reliance on a targeted approach to a small number of selected sites is not desirable since it will lead to predictability and lack of general deterrence. Monitoring performance and outcome measures. Recommended performance measures are the number of vehicles checked, total hours of enforcement, number of separate speed checks and number of locations checked per exposure measure (e.g. number of registered vehicles, population size or vehicle kilometres travelled in an area) as well as the number of hours of traffic enforcement conducted by specialised traffic personal or general duties police, also per exposure measure. Recommended outcome measures are, first, changes in crashes and driving speed, and second, changes in community attitudes and infringement rates. When assessing changes in crash rates, the contribution of other initiatives besides speed enforcement should be recognised, although quantification may not be possible. When looking at changes in crash rate, one would also need to take account of changes over time in crash reporting rates between jurisdictions
  • To support enforcement operations by public campaigns. Public education campaigns are an effective means of heightening the impact of enforcement and an essential part of winning support for speed enforcement activity. Campaigns have to be carefully thought out in terms of current community perceptions, the target audience, attitudes and beliefs, the previous history of the issue, and the available time and resources. One single message should be delivered in each campaign. Pretesting can help to ensure that the right message is being delivered in the right format.
  • To apply penalties that reflect community views on the seriousness of offences. Demerit points are an effective deterrent for speeding motorists. Loss of licence is an effective deterrent for excessive speeding.

Procedures and guidelines in New Zealand

The Safety Administration Programme (SAP) is the primary planning and funding programme for road safety activity undertaken by the New Zealand Police, Land Transport New Zealand and community groups [41]. In their annual programme, the SAP details specific projects, their objectives and the performance measures against which their result is to be assessed. The SAP is collaborative (built on strong partnerships nationally, regionally and locally), evidence-based (driven by analysis of comprehensive road safety data) and accountable (detailing desired outcomes and quantitative and qualitative performance measures).

The SAP plans and allocates resources for strategic enforcement at the national level, and is directly inspired by a risk targeted road policing model. The annual SAP and the risk targeted road policing model are elaborated on the local situation by way of quarterly/biannual road safety action plans (RSAPs). In general RSAPs:

  • Are based on data from all key partners
  • Are outcome focused, have local targets
  • Set out responsibilities and contributions of all parties
  • Have evidence based performance measures
  • Include community, local and national campaigns

The RSAPs are implemented through crash books and risk targeted patrol plans. Crash books provide long-term risk profiles of roads and areas and risk target patrol plans allocate strategic enforcement hours by location and time. They are instruments to ensure that enforcement is directed toward higher risk locations, behaviour and times to maximize its effect.

In the area of speed control the SAP outlines the following desired outcomes:

  • For rural roads with a speed limit of 100 km/h: a mean speed of 99 km/h and a 85th percentile speed of no more than 107 km/h
  • For urban roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h: a mean speed of 55 km/h and an 85th percentile speed of no more than 61 km/h.

Qualitative performance measures are the extent to which speed control output is in accordance with the RSAPs and RTPPs, the satisfaction of local authorities and regions with police consultation process in the development of the RSAPs and RTPPs, the attention for targeted issues, and the percentage of road users who believe there is a high probability of detection of speeding.

Public acceptance

In Victoria, telephone surveys in 1999 and 2002 asked licensed drivers to report on their knowledge of and attitudes towards speed enforcement methods, specifically speed cameras [57].

On the positive side, from 1999 to 2002, fewer drivers reported that they often drove 5-9 km/h over the speed limit, fewer drivers agreed with the statement 'There's not much chance of being caught speeding' and more drivers reported knowledge of the facts that speed cameras operated from different cars and that speed cameras did not always operate from a fixed location. Better knowledge and better compliance with speed limits did not go hand in hand with more positive attitudes towards speed cameras. On the contrary, there was an increase in agreement with the statement that speeding fines were only for revenue raising purposes. In 2002, 71% of the sample reported that speeding fines were mainly for revenue raising. The researchers attribute this negative development to 'propagation of comments in the media supporting this idea'.

In 2007, 75% of New Zealand adults agreed with the statement 'Enforcing the speed limit helps to lower the road toll' [45]. In 2007, 61% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement 'Using speed cameras helps lower the road toll'. This has fluctuated around 60% in the years after 2001. 64% agreed that 'the way speed cameras are being operated is fair'. Also, 63% said they supported or strongly supported the use of hidden cameras. Support for hidden cameras increased from 56% in 2004, when the question was first asked.

Rule 9:

Cooperation and partnerships between police, local authorities and data experts provide the best guarantee for problem-oriented, outcome-focused and evidence-based speed policing operations.