During FY17, our customers travelled more than 6.2 billion km using our 260 km road network. Road safety is a shared responsibility, and we seek to play our part to achieve safer roads for all users. We continue to strive for fatality and injury-free roads and proactively engage with our customers, partners and the community to make every journey a safe one.
To this end, Transurban has invested in additional safety features and advanced technology beyond what is available across the public road network. We have done this to meet our responsibilities in minimising the risk of crashes, injuries and fatalities on our roads. We also engage in research to identify opportunities for future improvements.
Our Road Safety Strategic Framework
Transurban’s Road Safety Strategic Framework is aligned with the Safe System approach to improving road safety. The safe system approach takes a holistic view of the road transport system and focuses on four interconnected pillars: safer roads, safer speeds, safer vehicles and safer people.
Our road safety strategy and action plans are also informed by detailed traffic and incident data from Transurban and public road networks, as well as by advice and research from the Australian Road Research Board and the Monash University Accident Research Centre.
In FY17, we implemented Road Safety Action Plans in each of our operating regions. These plans set out our goals and objectives, actions, and performance measures. Actions across all regions included:
Road safety performance
We measure our historical road safety performance via a Road Injury Crash Index (RICI). This index allows us to measure and compare the frequency of serious road injury crashes on our networks over time. In 2014, Transurban established a long-term target of a 15 per cent reduction in injury crashes for the five year period from 2015-2019.
A serious road injury crash is a crash where one or more people involved require medical treatment or emergency medical care beyond first aid. The RICI measures how many serious road injury crashes occur per 100 million vehicle kilometres travelled. Incidents where individuals are assessed and released from medical care at the crash scene are not classified as serious injury crashes.
Road fatalities and injuries
In FY17, the RICI across all Transurban assets was 4.85 injury crashes per 100 million vehicle kilometres travelled, or 302 injury crashes over 6.2 billion vehicle kilometres travelled. Injury crashes were higher in FY17 than they were in FY16 (see table below), and were higher than our FY17 RICI target of 4.16. This is an increase from the previous year, yet remains lower than the peak in 2015, indicating the effectiveness of our continued road safety efforts in an environment of increased travel by our customers. Historical road safety performance on Transurban assets is shown below.
* Transurban began operating AirportLinkM7 in April 2016 and FY17 is the first year that data from this road has been included in Transurban’s RICI calculations
Six fatal road accidents occurred on our roads in FY17: four accidents involving vehicle crashes, and two separate incidents where a person was struck while on a road.
In line with the Safe System-based strategies across Australia and the world, we recognise that road safety is a shared responsibility. We continue to strive for fatality and injury free roads and proactively engage with our customers, partners and the community to make every journey a safe one.
Safer Transurban roads
Data is essential to informing and prioritising our road safety efforts, and ensuring we deliver highly effective road design, traffic management and messaging, rapid and effective incident response. We have engaged the Monash University Accident Research Centre to analyse our road incident data so we can understand our results in the context of the broader road network and determine the effectiveness of the additional safety features we have introduced to create safer roads.
FY17 road safety initiatives
Transurban continues to support critical research to inform our road safety strategy and develop interventions that will support the safety of customers and other users of Transurban’s roads and the broader road network.
The burden of road trauma in Australia is considerable, with around 1,300 deaths and 65,000 hospitalisations each year. Road trauma costs Australia an estimated $27 billion annually3. Of course, the human cost for families affected by road trauma is immeasurable.
In FY17, Transurban introduced three significant road safety initiatives:
Transurban Road Safety Centre
Transurban, in partnership with Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), established the Transurban Road Safety Centre during FY17. NeuRA is one of the world’s leading centres of neuroscience research and the new Transurban Road Safety Centre has been equipped with a state-of-the-art crash sled. The sled enables test speeds of up to 64 km/h, allowing for the replication of real-world conditions.
Incident response vehicles
Transurban launched a new fleet of rapid response vehicles on CityLink during FY17. These new, purpose-built vehicles are part of an improved incident response model, and they will help us better manage incidents on our network, clear the road quickly and safely and help keep everyone moving.
The new vehicles are equipped with special safety features such as shock-absorbent truck-mounted attenuators, designed to protect incident-response crews and road users while we attend incidents. The fleet includes state-of-the-art tow trucks for safely removing vehicles from the freeway. The vehicles are marked using Transurban’s new vehicle marking standards, developed using research from Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and expert advice from 3M, a provider of reflective and vehicle marking products.
A communications campaign about customer safety during road incidents was developed to support the new fleet’s operations.
Traffic control room operator training
Highly experienced people are essential to the successful management of a busy motorway system. We are proud of the commitment and passion our control room operators show for their work, and of their abilities in assessing safety risks and coordinating responses when incidents, congestion and maintenance operations occur on our busy network.
During FY17, all Australian Transurban traffic control room operators commenced a Certificate IV in Traffic Operations training or enrolled in a refresher course if they already held this qualification. This training helps us ensure we are compliant with industry standards and that our people have up-to-date skills and knowledge in what are highly technical and critical safety roles.
Road safety awareness
Transurban supported a range of road safety campaigns during FY17. We regularly share key government-led safety campaign messages with our customers in both Australia and the USA via our electronic variable message signs, billboard advertising, employee programs and social media. During FY17, we also supported a range of events, including:
- Global Road Safety Week - part of the United Nation’s Decade of Action for Road Safety. This program aims to significantly reduce road trauma across the world by 2020 via the implementation of the Safe System approach
- Yellow Ribbon National Road Safety Week - a Safer Australian Roads and Highways initiative. To mark this week, we lit the Bolte (Melbourne) and Sir Leo Hielscher (Brisbane) bridges in yellow and invited all employees to wear yellow ribbons in recognition of the week and its goal of improving road safety across Australia
- Fatality Free Friday - an Australian Road Safety Foundation event designed to focus public attention on road safety and target zero fatalities
- Queensland Road Safety Week
- Re:Act - a Swinburne University initiative to inspire young people to think about road safety
- Phone down. Chin up - a Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads initiative targeting young mobile phone users
- bstreetmart Youth and Road Trauma Forum - Australia’s largest educational event on road safety, an initiative of Westmead Hospital Trauma Unit in New South Wales
Distracted driving campaign
In FY17, Transurban USA partnered with transport officials, law enforcement officers and safety advocates in the Washington DC area to launch an anti-distracted driving safety campaign.
We recruited two local professional athletes to be the spokespeople for the Phones Down campaign, primarily targeting young drivers.
The campaign warned against the dangers of distracted driving and encouraged millions of drivers to avoid distractions while in the car.
Child Safety Handbook
Transurban NSW supported the 2016 edition of the Child Safety Handbook, produced by the NSW Police Legacy.
We are long-time sponsors of this useful resource for parents, carers and teachers. The handbook provides advice and information on many child-related health and safety issues, including road and car safety.