The poor quality of parts of Australia’s regional road network is resulting in a high number of crashes and fatalities. Between 2008 and 2016, 55% of road fatalities in Australia occurred in regional areas. Relative to population size, the number of fatalities in regional areas was over four times greater than for major cities over the same period.
While behavioural factors are a significant cause of road crashes, infrastructure deficiencies such as the curvature of roads are also a cause of accidents. Infrastructure can play an important role in mitigating the consequences of road accidents through features such as safety barriers and the appropriate placement of embankments, poles and other roadside objects.
There is a risk that the growing road freight task may exacerbate these road safety issues as more heavy vehicles travel on roads in regional areas.
This program initiative recognises the need to continue identifying, assessing and prioritising high-risk sections of regional roads across Australia. These sections could be addressed through targeted infrastructure improvements, such as alignment corrections and safety barriers, as well as modern road safety infrastructure technology to improve road safety outcomes.
The Infrastructure Priority List separately identifies the following High Priority initiatives that align with this program initiative:
• Regional NSW road network safety improvements (see page 96).
• Regional and rural WA road network safety improvements (see page 115).
There is also an opportunity to deliver road safety improvements alongside maintenance works on corridors, where it is efficient to do so. National road maintenance backlog is also recognised as a High Priority Initiative (see page 79).
Proponent(s) to be identified.