With the number of road deaths currently increasing in New Zealand, a group of organisations has come together to call on Government and local authorities to adopt a Vision Zero approach to road safety – aiming for zero road deaths and injuries. The #VisionZeroNZ campaign was launched at the 2 Walk and Cycle conference recently held in Auckland. Vision Zero is an approach used in a growing number of countries and cities around the world and at its core is the principle that life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within society.
The calls come from Brake, the road safety charity, Cycling Action Network, NZ School Speeds, Waitemata Local Board Deputy Chair Pippa Coom, and Walk Auckland, who jointly held a workshop on Vision Zero at the conference.
The organisations say NZ needs to go beyond the current safe system approach by aiming for Vision Zero and creating a safe, sustainable, healthy and fair transport system for everyone.
Already this year 181 people have been killed on NZ roads, a 5% increase on the same time last year and continuing a worrying trend of increases to the number of road deaths over the last two years. Vision Zero (also known as Target Zero) is a proven strategy to bring down the road toll and ultimately bring an end to road deaths and serious injuries.
With the final Safer Journeys action plan now being implemented, the group say it’s time to look beyond 2020 to the future of transport in New Zealand.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set challenging targets, including some for road safety and sustainability:
- Halving the number of road deaths and injuries worldwide by 2020
- Substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from air pollution
- Provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all
New Zealand has signed up to the SDGs as part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To achieve these goals, and ultimately achieve Vision Zero, this group is urging the government and local authorities to take action by prioritising walking, cycling and public transport, creating more traffic-free civic spaces and lowering speed limits in urban areas and outside schools to 30km/h.
Caroline Perry, Brake’s NZ director, said: “Working with bereaved families, we see the devastating consequences of crashes, and all of these deaths are preventable. We need action now to reduce our road toll and will shortly be releasing our campaign agenda for Vision Zero. This approach is reducing road deaths abroad and it’s vital we have it in NZ and show that the only acceptable number of deaths on the road is zero.”
Patrick Morgan, Cycling Action Network spokesperson said: “Safety is no accident. It's time we moved beyond the Safe System approach, which is past its best-by date. With road deaths increasing this year, we need to adopt Vision Zero, and protect people.”
Lucinda Rees, NZ School Speeds, said: “Make roads safer with consistent and safe lower speed limits so that all can travel safely, and children have the opportunity to journey to school on foot or bike. Action is needed now.”
Pippa Coom, Deputy Chair, Waitematā Local Board said: “For too long politicians and transport planners have accepted road fatalities are inevitable. We urgently need a new approach that is proven to work. The Local Government elections coming up in September is an opportunity to vote for candidates who support Vision Zero.”
Abby Granbery, Walk Auckland, said: “Vision Zero (or target zero) is a key component in making Auckland the world's most liveable city. We must inject vitality into our streets. This is only possible by ensuring an environment where Aucklanders feel and are, safe to play, work, and live.”
Organisations and individuals with an interest in Vision Zero are urged to find out more and get involved by contacting the organisations above, or going to www.facebook.com/VisionZeroforNZ.
Media enquiries please contact Caroline Perry on 021 407 953.
Notes to Editors:
 Total road deaths in NZ by year:
2016 (as at 15.07.16) - 181 (a 5% increase on this time last year)
2015 - 319
2014 - 293
2013 - 253
2016 stats from NZ Transport Agency road death statistics
Historic data from Ministry of Transport annual road toll reports
The Vision Zero approach is a commitment to aim for zero road deaths. It began in Sweden and is founded on the core principle that no loss of life on the road is acceptable, and life and health cannot be exchanged for other benefits within society. People on foot and bicycle are prioritised with low urban speed limits, traffic-free zones and safer streets and crossing points. Safety is prioritised over speed and efficiency in transport design and planning.
UN Sustainable Development Goals
At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, all 193 UN Member States, including New Zealand, adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.
The Waitematā Local Board, Auckland Council has a current safer streets advocacy position: Auckland Transport to adopt a target of zero serious injuries or deaths on our roads as part of a comprehensive safe systems approach to road safety including safe road design, enforcement, safer speeds and driver education (Waitematā Local Board Agreement 2016/17)