Safety on Victoria's roads—regional road barriers

Overview

Objective

To determine whether Victoria's regional road barriers program is delivering intended safety outcomes.

Issues

Victoria's current $1.1 billion road safety strategy, Towards Zero 2016–2020, aims to reduce Victoria's road toll to fewer than 200 deaths and serious injuries by 15 per cent by 2020. Making rural roads safer is one of the strategy's four focus areas. At the time it was introduced, fatalities were four times more likely on regional than metropolitan roads. These crashes are primarily head-on collisions or collisions with roadside objects such as trees.

The strategy's $340 million program for making rural roads safer includes installing barriers on 330 kilometres of high-risk, high-volume and high-speed regional roads. Research has shown that flexible safety barriers can reduce these types of crashes by up to 85 per cent. In 2018, the number of road crash fatalities fell by 17 per cent from the previous year and fatalities on high-speed regional roads reduced by 44 per cent.

Despite the fall in 2018 of road crash fatalities on high-speed regional roads, regional road safety barriers have received significant media attention because of their high visibility and a range of concerns. Some stakeholders are concerned that the barriers may not be as effective as the Victorian Government claims, and that they may exacerbate injuries for motorcyclists. This audit will examine the regional road barriers program and the extent to which the barriers are contributing to improved safety outcomes.

Proposed agencies

VicRoads, Transport Accident Commission and Department of Transport.

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