WA develops road safety rating tool for local government

WA’s peak local government body is working with the University of Western Australia to develop a safety rating tool designed to help councils prioritise investment in road works and upgrades.

Tracey Roberts

WALGA says the three-year Safety Ratings for Local Roads project will ensure roads are safer and help reduce road deaths and injuries.

It will also give local government officers information, help councils in decision making and inform the community.

Local government manages 87 per cent of the road network, WALGA President Tracey Roberts says, and councils play a key role as system designers, planning authorities and fleet managers.

Almost half of all travel in WA occurs on local roads, which are also where almost 60 per cent of serious crashes occur.

“This will provide an evidence base of assessing the safety of local roads and support local governments to prioritise infrastructure projects which have the largest impact on reducing death and serious injuries,” Cr Roberts said.

The centre’s director Professor Lynn Meuleners says the project recognises the need to develop a tool that’s practical to use and takes into account resourcing and capabability issues often faced by councils.

Her colleague, associate Paul Roberts from the Road Safety Research centre says the tool aims to improve decision making as well as safety.

“Implementing a safety rating tool will provide Local Governments with high level information about their road network which will help support strategic decision-making to improve the safety performance of their road network,” Dr Roberts said.

The tool is being developed by UWA’s West Australian Centre for Road Safety Research and is funded by the federal Road Safety Innovation Fund.

The safety rating project is an initiative of WALGA’s RoadWise safety project, which aims to reduce road trauma and contribute towards implementation of the state’s 10-year road safety strategy.

The project is slated for completion in mid 2023.

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