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Clear Zones and Environmental Wealth – the Asset Manager’s Dilemma

Savage, M F

Strategy & Policy

ACRS conference 2012

The National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020 states that each year road crashes kill about 1,500 Australians and hospitalise another 30,000. The total estimated cost to society is $27 billion. Run-off-road crashes typically involving a single vehicle, account for about 30 per cent of all serious casualties, and a higher proportion of fatalities. This is a major concern for Local Government which is responsible for in excess of 80% of the total road network. Around 45% of the total annual fatalities also occur on the local road network. Councils are responsible for the design and management of their networks. However many parts of the network were designed for bullock teams and did not envisage use by current vehicles. Austroads Has adopted a standard suggesting appropriate clear zones for use on all classes of road. Local Government is unable to meet these suggested clear zones because of a number of competing requirements: the need for minimal speed restrictions; the environmental value of flora within the road corridor; and the shortage of resources to maintain infrastructure assets in a satisfactory condition. The IPWEA (NSW) Roads & Transport Directorate has carried out research into these issues and provided input into a number of Austroads projects. This presentation explains the dilemma facing local government engineers and the attempts being made to address the issues, both within individual councils and more broadly through Austroads’ current Safe System Projects.