The NRMA’s Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) has revealed that $2 billion worth of road safety improvements for NSW and ACT roads could prevent almost 16,000 fatalities and injuries over the next two decades.
AusRAP found that a government expenditure of $1.96 billion, spent on roads including the Pacific, Mitchell, Newell and Barton highways, could prevent 15,735 fatalities and injuries and $7.1 billion in future crash-related expenses.
The report found there to be six specific safety-related areas worth investing in, including roadside barriers, central median barriers, shoulder rumble strips, skid-resistant paved roads, protected turning lanes, and the installation of additional lanes at known black spots.
“Investing in these cost-effective measures to significantly improve the safety of NSW and ACT highways should be a no-brainer for governments,” NRMA Motoring and Services president Wendy Machin said.
By implementing these recommendations, the NRMA and AusRAP found that it would be possible to reduce the number of one- and two-star-rated roads from 51 per cent to two per cent of NSW and ACT highways, increase the number of four- and five-star-rated roads from two per cent to 43 per cent, and increase the number of three-star roads from 46 per cent to 54 per cent.
The report examined 4738km of NSW and ACT roads, the majority of which would benefit from the proposed investments.
Over half of the Great Western Highway – which stretches from Sydney to Bathurst – is rated just one star, and another third of that highway is rated two stars. There are no five-star-rated roads in NSW or the ACT.
Road death and injury-related expenses already total $2.8 billion each year in NSW and the ACT alone, with this number expected to increase in the future.