It is worth noting the great progress made by Auckland Transport on embedding the safe system and vision zero within the organisation, the review of speed limits and the investment in infrastructure. As Eric Howard points out AT has achieved highly-positive results to date for its community and this achievement cannot be underappreciated.
While I agree with Eric, there is still a way to go. Unfortunately, the data for 2021 is showing something of a return to 2018’s level. Auckland Transport and its partners should focus on the following top 10 initiatives to work to address this going forward:
- Substantially improve deterrence of drink driving
- Substantially improve deterrence of speeding
- Pursue significant road safety regulatory reform at a national level
- Deliver improved pedestrian (and other people outside vehicles) safety across the arterials and other roads in the network
- Advocate for and advise on policy reform at a national level
- Lower travel speeds across higher-risk sections of the Auckland network
- Expand safer urban infrastructure treatment programmes, in association with safer speed limit introductions, to continue to lower death and serious injury (DSI) across the road network
- Auckland Transport to substantially ramp up investment in/resourcing of capabilities for informed road safety partnership activities with local Auckland partners, plus other stakeholders and national partners
- With Auckland Transport Board and chief executive leadership, Auckland Transport to continue to work to genuinely embed the Vision Zero and Safe System principles in all they do to achieve a 65 per cent reduction in DSI by 2030 and zero DSI by 2050 for their community
- Ensure health and safety responsibilities cover transport network operating risks.
The first five of these are essentially national initiatives where Auckland Transport is advocating or supporting broader road safety objectives. While progress on these initiatives is essential, not just for Auckland Transport but for the whole of New Zealand, Auckland Transport cannot simply sit on its hands waiting for others. It must also look to the things that only Auckland Transport can control. To do so, there must be high level ownership to embed Vision Zero and Safety Systems thinking (9) and to focus on speed management (6) and infrastructure improvements (7).
While this 2021 review at times makes confronting reading, Auckland and arguably New Zealand should be grateful that Auckland Transport has recognised a problem exists, developed an action plan, worked to implement that plan, and are monitoring progress. This evidence-based approach is, in my opinion, essential for the systematic improvement of road safety outcomes in Auckland and further afield.
With the more recent upswing in deaths and serious injury within Auckland, I believe it is important that Auckland Transport’s partners also step up, particularly with respect to behavioural change initiatives around drink and drugged driving and inappropriate speed.