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Dunedin City roads to be put under the safety microscope

Media Release: Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Dunedin City roads to be put under the safety microscope

A special vehicle will be driving Dunedin’s roads in the week of 6 to 9 October, recording their levels of safety.

People may see a modified van with cameras attached to it driving throughout Dunedin to record a range of data about the roads. This is part of a new road safety initiative called KiwiRAP Urban.

KiwiRAP is a world-leading road assessment programme that has been measuring the safety of New Zealand’s state highways since 2008. KiwiRAP Urban is a new step which will use the same methods to rate the safety and crash risks on a selection of local roads.

“KiwiRAP Urban will give us a much clearer picture of where our road safety risks are highest and target safety measures where they are needed most,” says Dunedin City Council Senior Traffic Engineer Ron Minnema.

“It’s another step towards having safer roads and, ultimately, fewer people hurt from crashes.”

The van will video its journeys over Dunedin roads and the data will then be analysed to give roads a rating from 1 to 5 stars. The ratings will measure things like the lane width of a road, the size of its shoulder, how much visibility drivers have, and any roadside hazards like power poles, ditches or trees. Ratings will also be produced for a road’s safety for people walking, on bikes and on motorcycles.

Dunedin is the first local area to introduce KiwiRAP Urban along with Auckland, Tauranga and Christchurch. The first KiwiRAP Urban crash risk maps for these areas are due to be released in November.

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“KiwiRAP Urban is a ground-breaking development that will help local authorities make their roads safer,” says NZTA Director of Safety Ernst Zollner.

“The Government’s Safer Journeys strategy has set us a clear vision of creating a road system increasingly free of serious injuries and deaths by 2020. Improving the safety of roads and roadsides is a key focus for Safer Journeys, and KiwiRAP is helping us make it a reality.”

For example, the KiwiRAP highway assessment programme identified a number of roads that were New Zealand’s highest risk routes in its first report in 2008. Authorities then used this information to target measures that saw a 30% reduction in fatal and serious crashes on these high risk highways over the next 5 years.

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