Transport & Safety
How we get around plays an integral role in the lives of Waipā residents. Our transport system is continually evolving so we can create a more convenient and efficient network that fits our growing needs.
We look at a range of options when we develop our transportation network; roads, pedestrian connections, public transport (provided by Waikato Regional Council), walkways and cycleways, to ensure we’re catering for people of all abilities and transport needs, including those whose needs may often be overlooked.
With the majority of our residents driving on Waipā roads, we take measures to reduce the risk our drivers and pedestrians face, every time they step outside. We do this in a number of ways:
ROAD TO ZERO
We embrace Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Road to Zero campaign vision which looks to a future New Zealand where no one is killed or seriously injured in road crashes. Over the next decade, we know newly developed transport technologies will bring with it significant opportunities as well as challenges, and the nature of how we transport goods and people across the country is likely to change.
By placing safety at the core of our transport system, we can anticipate and adapt to the changes ahead, while continuing to strive for the Road to Zero vision.
Some of the key messages from the campaign include:
- It’s more than just how we drive, it’s about the different parts of the road system working together to keep us safe.
- There isn’t just one ‘fix’ that will stop fatalities and serious injuries on the roads.
- We all have a part to play.
- It takes everyone to get to no one. Mā tātou e kore tētahi e hinga.
Click here for more information.
Road Safety – creating safer environments
In New Zealand, crashes result in hundreds of road deaths, and thousands of serious injuries each year. The effects - emotional, physical and economical - reverberate through our communities long after the moment of impact, and it is these effects that we try to reduce wherever possible.
Driving comes with the potential for significant personal, social and community risk, every time we use the road, and we use two basic facts to help inform the basis of our approach to reducing trauma on our roads:
- Good people make mistakes
- The human body cannot withstand sudden impact
Our transportation team looks at how we can improve survival rates and reduce trauma on Waipā roads. When there is the potential for a crash, impact speed and angles are considered with a view to minimise harm. What this looks like depends on the type of crash (e.g. urban intersection or rural, open road crashes), and is different for all road user types present and road surfaces.
In addition to building and maintaining a safe and sustainable transport network, another piece of the road safety puzzle is vehicle safety, enforcement – undertaken by partner agencies, and education to further support the network.
However you get around in our district, we aim to make that journey safe, convenient, attractive and sustainable. This requires us all to work together and be considerate of everyone’s needs.
We partner with the Waka Kotahi/New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to promote road safety in our district. This allows us to foster safer road behaviour for all current and future road users to reduce the number of people killed and injured on our roads every year.
LOWER SPEEDS = SAFER ROADS
Every one of us who uses our roads, streets, and footpaths has the right to get home safely. To help this to happen, we all need to act, to recognise how our own individual actions affect others and change our behaviour where necessary to keep us all safe.
A critical part of this is influencing behaviour and enhancing our driving culture.
- Every 1% increase in travel speed increases the likelihood of a fatality by 4%
- Every 1km increase in impact speed increases in the likelihood of a pedestrian fatality by 11%
- Speeding is substantially under-estimated as a factor in serious crashes in New Zealand’s crash data, and elsewhere
- Under-reporting of speeding in crashes contributes to under-appreciation of speeding risk by media, community and decision-makers
- Combining data sources indicates that speeding (in excess of the legal limit) is involved in around 60% of fatal crashes in New Zealand. Speed in general (in excess of a safe and appropriate speed, regardless of posted speed limit) is involved in 71% of fatal crashes
- Speeding kills more people each year in New Zealand than homicide
- Police are confident that in only 30% of fatal crashes in New Zealand speeding was not a factor, implying that the driver (if alive) would be charged with speeding (in excess of the legal speed limit)
SPEED LIMITS BYLAW
In 2019, feedback from more than 84 percent of Waipā residents after extensive consultations revealed that they agreed with changes to the Speed Limit Bylaw 2019 which recommended lower speed limits.
This led to more than 200 speed limits across the district being lowered by 10km/h or more.
Lowering speed limits is just one tool used to make our roads safer – other tools include significant investment in capital road safety improvements, changes to intersections, street lighting, road markings, and signage as well as driver education programmes and enforcement.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How does the council decide where and how to undertake safety improvements?
We continually look at safety on a network-wide basis and assess risk (the likelihood of a crash in the future, which can be informed by crash history and daily traffic volume), and consequence (the severity of injury that could be expected due to e.g. speed, the angle of impact, pedestrian/cyclist involvement etc.). As we have limited budget to spend on safety upgrades, we need to ensure that our spend is directed to the right areas to reduce the severity of injury that could be sustained.
Traffic and crash data is objectively analysed, and proven systems to reduce trauma are proposed for funding.
What is Council doing to stop speeding, burnouts other “anti-social” driving behaviour?
This activity seems to have grown over recent years, however we cannot build the infrastructure that would stop it from happening, on a network wide basis and to a standard that doesn’t compromising legal road use.
It is an enforcements issue for police as council is unable to enforce, nor prosecute driving infringements.
We do however work with police for example by sharing information around traffic data, issues and complaints, and by developing bylaws that support policing activities
Why are you reducing speed limits?
The facts are that a) we all make mistakes, and b) the human body is not made to withstand impact beyond falling out of a tree or running full-speed into another person.
When or bodies stop suddenly, all sorts of things go wrong inside and out.
Rural roads across New Zealand flanked by trees, poles and drains: colliding with a roadside hazard above 80km/h will likely result in serious injury or death.
In our urban areas there are many people who rely on pathways and road crossings for their transport needs: if a pedestrian or cyclist is hit by a vehicle travelling faster than 30km/h, they will likely suffer serious injury or death.
We’re no longer accepting the level of trauma that occurs on Waipa roads as a reasonable price to pay for the ability to drive a bit faster.
Can you lower the speed limit on my street?
As there is a bit of a process needed to make these assessments and legally change speed limits, it is inefficient to make one-off changes. We undertake district wide speed limit reviews periodically, and will be happy to include you street in our next review
Why are you putting raised platforms and islands everywhere?
These are examples of speed calming measures. A drivers speed is more influenced by the surrounding environment and risk perception than the number on posted speed sign. Even good divers can unintentionally exceed the speed limit. Physical changes to the road environment that require changed driving behaviour can ensure safe driving speeds. This is particularly relevant in urban areas where there are many vulnerable road users mixing with vehicle traffic: in these areas, forcing traffic speeds to <30km/h with physical devices provides for safer travel options for all users.