TRAFINZ workshop meeting notes 20 June 2018

Notes from Chris T-S, Living Streets Aotearoa

I attended the TRAFINZ safety workshop in Wellington.

The workshop featured Margaret Dugdale from NZTA and James Campbell from MoT talking about progress towards developing a new road safety strategy to replace safer journeys which they acknowledge has failed (first 5 years of declines in road death toll has been almost completely reversed in last 5 years).

Margaret put NZ in international context (it ain't pretty), especially comparing us with Norway and Sweden and the Vision Zero  approaches to road safety
taken there (e.g. Norway 80K max unless median barriers, min. driving age 18, blood alcohol limit 0.02%, lots of speed cameras and death rate of 2.3/100,000 people compared with NZ's 7).

Vision Zero is being adopted on a city by city basis elsewhere (whereas endorsed by parliament in Sweden) and e.g. in New york fatalities have dropped 28% since its introduction in 2014 compared with a 15% increase elsewhere in the US.

Fundamental actions are decreasing speed, increased vehicle standards and improved infrastructure.

there was mention of a recent  AA article  that showed that 75% of fatal crashes in NZ are not due to extreme behaviour but just ordinary people making small mistakes. In contrast, public perception is largely that it's just the wreckless drivers that cause the carnage.

Andrew Bell (AT) mentioned that they had managed to get AC to adopt the Vision Zero approach by dispelling the belief that zero isn't possible. They pointed to subsets of road users for whom it already was zero.

James talked about the process that is underway to develop the new strategy.

There's a Ministerial Group chaired by Julile-Anne Genter, then the National Road Safety committee made up of CEOs of NZTA, MoT, Police, Education, Workplace Safety, ACC and LGNZ (which Trafinz is still trying to be the representative for), then the National Road Safety Managers group, next a Strategy Project Team led by MoT but in partnership with others and lastly Focus Area working groups (NZTA, local govt, advocacy groups). This latter is where LSA and others can come in. The working groups will operate between July 2018 and Mar 2019.

Then there will be general consultation and feedback from April-Sept 2019 on the strategy and action plan.

There will be a clear focus on vulnerable users' safety.

Then had roundtable discussions on a variety of aspects of what had been said. Our group focussed on need to communicate the need for Vision Zero and to have a whole lot of people putting out press releases, social media comments etc to support agency and govt announcements on it to counter the usual negative voices.

Using examples of where interventions had already slashed or stopped fatalities would be one way to convince people Zero isn't an impossible dream. e.g. Pukerua Bay Centennial highway median rope barrier has been hit 400 x in 10 years but no fatalities compared with the horrendous record before then. Also, there are enough 30/40km zones around that thre must be data on fatalities and crashes in those areas that may also be useful.

There was a concern that the government may not last long enough to implement it all so some thought need to jsut start implementing some  'low hanging fruit' e.g. universal lower speed limits around schools instead of every one having to have expensive electronic signs.

I took the opportunity to mention the PNCC slashing its pedestrian budget on assumption that it will get a FAR subsidy as a result of the new GPS and have since drafted a letter to the NZTA Board chair (who is apparently the one to reach as that body determines how FAR is applied). Both Ellen and I have also written to the Minister.