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NZ Road Quality Assessed as Poor "36% of NZ open roads are four times more dangerous than equivalent Australian roads."

NZ roads coming up short

4:35 PM Thursday Jun 24, 2010
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10654130

No New Zealand roads meet the top standard under a new safety rating system for state highways, although none are at the worst end of the scale either. The KiwiRAP Star Ratings, developed by the AA and the Transport Agency, rate nearly 90 per cent of the state highway network, covering more than 10,000km of rural highways with speed limits of 80km/h or more. The minimum length of highway assessed for a star rating was five kilometres.

"While New Zealand should aspire for our busiest roads to be at least four-star, our geography means that this can be difficult to achieve and will not be practical or affordable for all our state highways," said AA spokesman Mike Noon.

Thirty-nine per cent of sections were rated two star, 56 per cent were three star, and 5 per cent were four star, with five stars the best rating. The ratings would not be signposted along roads, as sections could change in safety rating over short distances. The ratings were instead intended to improve awareness about the risks.

"If we can increase public awareness that different parts of the state highway network have different levels of safety, drivers will have a better understanding of how roadside hazards like trees, ditches, poles and narrow shoulders can increase risk," Mr Noon said.

As well as influencing driver behaviour, the programme was also intended to help improve road engineering. Sections of road were also assessed according to collective and personal risk. The section of road with the highest collective risk was State Highway 2 between Napier and Hastings, followed by SH2 from Mount Maunganui to Paengaroa, and SH2 from Bay View to Napier. The sections with the highest personal risk were SH62 from Spring Creek to Renwick, in Marlborough, SH37 to Waitomo Caves in the King Country, and SH94 from Te Anau to Milford in Fiordland.

Personal risk measured the danger to people using the road, and accounted for traffic volumes, while collective risk was the number of fatal and serious injury crashes per kilometre over the road.

KiwiRap was part of an international programme of road assessment.

Details are on www.kiwirap.co.nz, www.irap.net

-NZPA

What that story didn't tell you, from the equivalent Australian road assessment programme ...

"The primary analysis of average crash costs per vehicle kilometre travelled and the Star Ratings revealed the following result:
  • average crash costs of $0.027 per vehicle kilometre travelled on 4 star roads;
  • average crash costs of $0.050 per vehicle kilometre travelled on 3 star roads; and
  • average crash costs of $0.101 per vehicle kilometre travelled on 2 star roads."

...

"In September 2007, a second report was published which included Star Ratings for the AusLink Network in NSW, which previously was not able to be rated. This took the total length of the rated AusLink network to 22,969km. The addition of the NSW ratings resulted in 3% of the network being rated two star, 55% rated three star and 42% rated four star."

Source: http://www.aaa.asn.au/documents/reports/2008/Comparing_Risk_Maps_and_Star_Ratings_FINAL_(web).pdf

See also: www.ausrap.org
Road Star Rating as Percentage of Open Road Network
Star Rating NZ Australia
2 star 39% 3%
3 star 56% 55%
4 star 5% 42%

On the basis of the comparative ratings and the relative crash costs found for those ratings:

  • Average crash costs for NZ open roads = $0.069 per vehicle km
  • Average crash costs for Australian open roads = $0.042 per vehicle km
  • NZ open roads are of such poor quality that they cause 64% more crash costs than their Australian equivalents.

This explodes the myth that New Zealand's slightly higher casualty rate is due to poor driving and/or speeding.

Amazingly, this glaring and important fact is totally overlooked by our mainstream media. Much less surprisingly it is entirely suppressed by the bureaucratic industry that benefits from wasting money and resources on ever increasing rigid enforcement of speed limits rather than building better roads.