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Safe System – Comparisons of this approach in Australia.

Mooren, L, Grzebieta, R, Job, S (Peer reviewed)

General

ACRS conference 2011

The concept of the safe system approach evolves from the Vision Zero and Sustainable Safety concepts that were introduced in the mid-1990s. In preparation for a truly safe system strategy for road safety in Australia, it is instructive to learn from the achievements and shortcomings of this type of approach. This paper examines the experience of Safe System approaches in Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales thusfar. Each of these cases has interpreted the Safe System approach differently. The question is, do these differences in approach affect safety outcomes? In addition, do these cases provide evidence of the effectiveness of the Safe System approach? While Safe System principles have underpinned some road safety projects in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales it is difficult to definitively attribute overall road safety gains in these jurisdictions to the adoption of this principle. The primary levers of the Safe System approach are forgiving roads/roadsides, crashworthy vehicles and speed management to levels needed for sustaining human health. These aspects bring significant engineering and political challenges.