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City Council wins award for road safety innovation

City Council wins award for road safety innovation

The Christchurch City Council has won a national road safety innovation award for its 40km/h school speed zone system.

The award for “Road-Based Innovation”, funded by the Road Safety Trust and administered by the Land Transport Safety Authority, was also jointly awarded to High Technology Systems who designed the electronic signage for the zones.

A New Zealand first, the zones require traffic to slow down to 40km/h at the beginning and end of the school day. They were established by the Christchurch City Council and Transit New Zealand to slow traffic in school areas, and improve safety for school children when crossing busy roads near their school.

Lee Kelly, Christchurch City Council roading projects consultation leader, says the award recognises the City Council’s innovation at being the first in the country to introduce the zones and also the city’s commitment to making the roads safer for children and school communities.

“An initial 40 km/h pilot project was set up in 1999 at five primary schools in Christchurch. Practical trials were held over the following two years, during which the 40 km/h zones proved to be a simple, effective and maintenance free method of slowing traffic in school areas and making the streets safer for children and their parents,” she says.

Since 1999, the City Council has established 11, 40km/h school zones covering 15 schools. Three new zones are being introduced in March 2004. The City Council currently has funding for a further six zones.

The 40 km/h system has now been adopted in other parts of the country to help cope with rising traffic volumes outside schools.

For more information on the awards see: www.roadsafetyinnovationawards.org.nz

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