Implementing the safe system approach to road safety: Some examples of infrastructure related approaches

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Blair Turner

The Safe System approach has been adopted by a number of global organisations as the best practice approach for delivering road safety. This approach marks a significant change in how road safety is implemented, and the outcomes sought. The Safe System approach has been adopted by a number of countries, including Australia as the guiding principle for achieving road safety outcomes.

This paper presents recent examples from Australia of how the Safe System approach may be implemented, particularly in regards to road infrastructure solutions. Details are provided on several initiatives, including the development of a Safe System framework to assess whether major projects are in accord with Safe System principles; work to embed Safe System objectives into the planning process; integration between asset management and safety; updates of the Australian and New Zealand guidance documents for road design to incorporate Safe System thinking; a process for speed limit setting to meet Safe System objectives; and research to improve the performance of road infrastructure to better achieve Safe System outcomes. Case studies are provided for several of these initiatives, and a discussion of future directions provided.

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