Slow politicians must release secret road safety ratings

Australia’s peak motoring body is calling on the Federal Government to require states and territories to release secret ratings about the safety of the nation’s roads.

More than 450,000km of Australian roads have been assessed using a globally recognised star-rating system designed by the International Road Assessment Program (iRAP).

Every Australian state and territory government uses this program to measure and describe the relative safety of roads. Yet not one has yet published the results derived and the data is kept secret.

The map above, obtained from iRAP, shows the extensive network of roads that it has rated across Australia.

Unfortunately, the individual ratings are unavailable to the voters who use and fund these roads; and who want to be assured that politicians are investing in roads to save lives, rather than marginal seats.

The AAA is calling for Federal Transport Minister Catherine King to compel states and territories to publish these star-ratings, as a condition of receiving their share of the $10 billion the Commonwealth allocates on roads each year.

Mr Bradley said: “Australian road deaths are increasing, and we don’t know why.

“To improve transparency, accountability, and to prevent future crashes, this iRAP data must be in the public domain”.

Australia’s road toll increased nearly 5% in the 12 months to 30 September 2023, with pedestrian deaths up 11% and cycling deaths up more than 30%.

Mr Bradley said: “We cannot explain these dramatic increases or be confident about proposed solutions, simply because state governments are withholding crucial data.

“The AAA’s Data Saves Lives campaign is not calling for new data, but simply asking the Commonwealth to use its $10 billion in annual road funding to compel the states and territories to release existing data on road quality, crash causes, and key law enforcement issues.

“Transparent management and reporting of existing data is a commonsense, inexpensive approach that would save lives.

“And if this data is not available to the Australian Government and voters, road funding decisions will continue to be made in the backrooms of government and subject to the whims of politicians and the political cycle.”

iRAP is a respected international organisation that has rated roads in 128 countries.

Its assessors examine the design of roads and assign them a safety rating based on factors such as how many lanes they have, whether the road is divided or a single carriageway, the road surface and the presence of roadside hazards.

The Data Saves Lives campaign is urging the Federal Government to include data transparency obligations in the next five-year National Partnership Agreement on Land Transport Infrastructure Projects, due to commence next July.

For more detail see

/Public Release. View in full here.