New guide for sustainable road network safety plans

Major construction for Victoria’s Drysdale Bypass is on track to begin in September, following the award of an early works contract on the $117 million project.Austroads has produced a user guide to help road managers, planners and designers to develop sustainable network safety plans.

The guide is hoped to help create plans that reduce serious and fatal crashes, deliver self-explaining roads and facilitate decisions resulting in the safest network.

David Bobbermen, Austroads Road Safety and Design Program Manager said road safety treatments are predominantly considered on a project by project basis which may not result in the safest network with consistent corridor outcomes.

“Inconsistent corridor standards do not support the principle of a ‘self-explaining road’ and make it difficult for drivers to make decisions and match driving behaviour to the road environment,” Mr. Bobbermen said.

The guide features a five step process to apply to all roads across a network. It includes contemporary safety treatments to be matched to levels of funding.

Each option features the reduction in crash risk which is calculated using the Australian National Risk Assessment Model (ANRAM) and improvements in star rating as set globally via the International Road Assessment Program (iRAP).

Richard Fanning, Project Manager from the Austroads Road Design Task Force said the project working group divided the types of road on a network ranging from motorways to local access roads into 13 road stereotypes.

“For each road stereotype, the group developed options by combining cross-sections and safety treatments for varying speed limits to show opportunities to improve road safety,” Mr. Fanning said.

The process, supported by the information in the reports, is:

  • Find the appropriate road stereotype based on the road function, geometric characteristics and traffic volume. Identify the existing cross-section for the asset from the relevant cross-section table and establish the fatal and serious injury (FSI) crash risk and iRAP star rating.
  • Select suitable road cross-section treatments and standards that can be applied.
  • Using the cross-section tables, find the FSI crash risk for the proposed treatment and compare predicted outcomes for the existing asset and the treatment.
  • Find and compare the corresponding iRAP star ratings for the proposed treatment and the existing asset.
  • Calculate the crash risk benefit (reduction in fatalities and serious injuries) and the cost of the corridor treatment and match these to the available funding, considering the total network.


“Our guidance provides a simple process to support all local government agencies, and will help road authorities to meet commitments made under the Australian National Road Safety Action Plan 2018–2020 to assess road safety treatments across their networks and apply Safe System approaches to all programs,” Mr. Bobberman said.

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