Helping councils make their roads safer with ARRB

Left: Karen Cogo. Right: Tia Gaffney

The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) successfully launched a series of Best Practice Guides earlier this year, covering Sealed Roads, Unsealed Roads, Road Materials and Bridge Management.

In 2021, ARRB will produce a new Best Practice Guide to help local government build and manage safer road infrastructure. ARRB Transport Safety Leaders Karen Cogo and Tia Gaffney explain.

What can Councils do to save people’s lives on our roads?

The next Guide in ARRB’s Local Government series will be focusing on Safer Road Infrastructure and will be developed specifically to assist local government practitioners to integrate the latest available best practice road safety principles and tools when managing their road assets so they meet community obligations while at the same time improve travel mobility.

In local government where road safety funding is limited, we must reach beyond traditional mechanisms and leverage other funding pools and resources to achieve more holistic and sustained road safety benefits.

Responding to road safety issues can be a momentous challenge to fund within existing council budgets.   

The greatest impact on safety will be achieved through the integration of Risk Management and Safe System vision throughout the Road Design and Planning, Construction, Asset Management, Operations and Maintenance disciplines.

This opens channels for more effective collaboration, opportunities and investment across the whole of a Council’s services, and it need not come at any additional cost.

As part of the planning stage of the Best Practice Guide, two Outreach Forums were conducted in October 2020. There were 108 representatives from 55 Local Government Authorities across Australia that participated who have a role in delivering road infrastructure. It was explored how a stronger Road Safety culture can be created amongst road practitioners to include Road Safety initiatives and principles into current road management functions across Council’s services.

We found that:

  • 100 per cent of Council attendees thought Vision Zero / Towards Zero was an important goal for Local Government
  • 50 per cent of Council attendees had a road safety strategy
  • 52 per cent of Council attendees actively use road safety data to inform its asset management data system
  • 63 per cent of Council attendees use a crash risk analysis to help inform or prioritise design decisions
  • 57 per cent of the Council attendees had a Council network maintenance plan that included road safety requirements (e.g. safety related KPIs)


The Best Practice Guide will provide guidance to the practical tools, key fundamentals, latest thinking and evidence-based support for ethical and economical decision making which will assist in delivering safer road infrastructure.

It is anticipated that the Safer Road Infrastructure Best Practice Guide will be launched and available early 2021.

For more information on how ARRB can assist with achieving your Vision Zero target or the Safer Road Infrastructure Best Practice Guide, contact Karen Cogo, Principal Professional Leader at ARRB at

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