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Transport experts to speak at Trafinz conference

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5 September 2008

Top international transport experts to speak at 2008 Trafinz conference

An impressive cross-section of New Zealand leaders and international experts will converge in Christchurch next week to discuss and debate the future of transport safety and sustainability.

The 2008 NZ Traffic Institute (Trafinz) conference brings together researchers, academics, engineers, political leaders and others with an interest in safety, urban design, planning and the creation of more sustainable transport networks.

Trafinz represents local authority views on transport strategy, safety and traffic management in New Zealand. Trafinz President and Wellington City Councillor Andy Foster says the conference will highlight the need for a "paradigm shift" in strategic thinking for transportation in New Zealand.

"Worldwide, people are coming to terms with the issue of climate change and the fact that we cannot continue just building roads. It's time to accept that we have systemic issues with our transport system in New Zealand. We need to use the whole range of effective new tools, procedures and technologies if we are to establish a truly safe and sustainable transport system in this country

"Too often in New Zealand we blame drivers for crashes rather than addressing systemic failures, which can include vehicles, people and roads. While police enforcement is important, enforcement alone will not raise our safety performance to the levels achieved by top performing countries.

"We know we can do better, what is holding us back is a lack of will, and it is literally killing people. If we learn from what has worked in other countries and utilise the tremendous skills, capability and innovation of New Zealanders, we can address these very important issues which affect us as a nation on a daily basis," Cr Foster said.

Highlights of the conference, from September 7-10, include:

* Anders Eugensson, Director of Government Affairs for Volvo in Sweden, will explain how his company has committed itself to the bold and ambitious goal that 'no one should be killed or seriously injured in a Volvo by the year 2020.' This goal was adopted in late 2007 and is unique. The goal is aimed at Volvo as a vehicle manufacturer, as well as at its customers and society as a whole. Volvo will rely heavily on new safety technology to achieve the goal.

* Australian psychologist and researcher Ian Johnston poses the question 'Can we regulate for safe and sustainable transport?' A former Director of the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC), Ian is now a part-time professorial research fellow at MUARC, a director on the board of the Driver Education Center of Australia and a Commissioner on the board of the National Transport Commission.

* UK Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) expert and key note speaker Ken Laughlin will discuss how the application of this relatively new discipline is allowing governments and communities to manage the complexities of their transport networks.

* New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) CEO Keith Hall will discuss the relationship between urban design and sustainable travel behaviour, and how the future of the planet relies on our professional knowledge, capability, commitment and ethics.

* A panel of transport spokespeople from all major New Zealand political parties will debate issues relating to safe and sustainable transport in New Zealand.

Cr Foster says this year's conference aims to provide participants with the tools, technologies and processes they need to plan better, change travel behaviour, improve safety and get more out of what we have.

"Research and the experiences of the world's leading countries shows that a change in our transport culture and the integration of land use activities in New Zealand will create a sustainable and safe transportation system for our communities. The benefits of this are huge, and they include economic prosperity, minimising environmental impacts, enhanced efficiency, improved public health, greater accessibility and the highest levels of safety and personal security."

For detailed information on the 2008 Trafinz conference go to: http://www.trafinz.org.nz/Conferences/Conference2008/index.html

Conference venue: Hotel Grand Chancellor

ENDS

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