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The future network

Future Transport Strategy

Enabling a safe network

Our customers and the community, regardless of transport mode or location, should be able to enjoy safe and protected door-to-door journeys across our network. Transport for NSW is proactively looking for ways to reduce and ultimately eliminate risk and trauma across our network and transition to a transport network free from death and serious injury. 

NSW has set a target of zero trauma on the transport system by 2056, committing to significant reductions in absolute and per capita rates of trauma across road, rail, waterway and air transport infrastructure and service delivery.

Applying the Towards Zero vision across all transport modes and functions allows us to deliver safe outcomes for customers across the whole transport system. It also ensures we are working towards a safely integrated and connected network.

We are currently prioritising a set of public safety performance measures that will track the level of risk in our system across our fixed infrastructure (vehicles, vessels and rolling stock); operators and controllers; and customers and the community. By developing a set of mandatory safety and protective security standards that everyone must meet, our customers, staff and the community can be assured that we are operating in a consistent and safe manner, and working on improving the safety of the entire network over time.

A key initiative in reducing trauma on the transport system is the implementation of the Road Safety Plan 2021. The plan outlines our commitment to working toward zero trauma using a ‘safe systems’ approach and introduces a target to reduce fatalities on our roads by at least 30 per cent on 2008 to 2010 levels by 2021.

There are several guiding principles to the safe systems approach:

  • All parts of the system must be strengthened, so if one part fails, transport users are still protected.
  • The transport system must be designed to account for human error.
  • The human body has limited ability to tolerate crash forces.
  • Transport planners, designers and users must all contribute to safe networks – there must be shared responsibility for preventing crashes and incidents.

A safe transport system has important benefits to the overall performance of the network. In particular, it minimises disruptions caused by incidents, improves the wellbeing of the broader community, and protects people who operate and maintain services.

Since the Road Safety Plan was announced in February 2018, a wide range of key actions and reforms have been completed or are well underway to save lives across NSW, including:

  • More life-saving road safety infrastructure across the State.
  • Significant enhancements to the Mobile Speed Camera Program.

  • Improved drink and drug driving laws to ensure swift and certain penalties and new combined drink and drug driving offence which is being developed to increase deterrence.

  • World-first camera detection of illegal mobile phone use. 

  • More of the safest cars on our roads through the enhanced NSW Government Fleet Policy.

  • More highway patrol police on country roads to remind everyone to use the roads safely.

Transport for NSW is also implementing the Maritime Safety Plan 2017-2021, which aims to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on NSW waterways by 30 per cent by the end of 2021 and towards zero over time.

Key initiatives delivered under the plan to date include:

  • A retail partnership program and online resources to promote correct lifejacket wear.
  • An integrated communications and marketing program to target key audiences on priority maritime safety issues.
  • The Maritime Enhanced Enforcement Program, a partnership with NSW Police Marine Area Command to conduct on-water alcohol, drug testing and other safety-related enforcement.
  • Collaborating with NSW Health to develop a data sharing capability to gain a better understanding of trauma on waterways.

Results achieved over the past few years include raising the lifejacket wear rate from nine per cent in 2007 to 43 per cent in 2017-2018.

In focus

Road Safety Plan 2021

The NSW Government, through the Road Safety Plan 2021, has set a target to reduce road trauma by 30 per cent by 2021, compared to 2011 levels, and a long-term aspirational goal of zero deaths and serious injuries on NSW roads. 

NSW’s Road Safety Plan 2021 sets new road safety priorities and uses national and international evidence to prioritise high-benefit initiatives based on the trauma profile. 

To deliver the plan, the NSW Government is investing a record $648 million this year, this includes a significant increase in investment through the Safer Roads Program targeting high risk areas with regional focus. The Plan also delivers enhanced enforcement, including 50 additional highway patrol officers in regional areas, increased roadside alcohol testing and a doubling of mobile drug testing. 

Since the plan was launched, we have introduced immediate three-month licence suspensions and fines for lower-range drink drivers and drug presence first offenders, introduced mandatory alcohol interlocks for all middle-range drink drivers, commenced the operation of mobile phone detection cameras, rolled out additional life-saving infrastructure across the NSW road network, employed additional highway patrol officers, enhanced the Mobile Speed Camera Program, and launched NSW's newest 5-star safety testing facility at Cudal. 

Learn more about the NSW Road Safety Plan 2021.

Safety technology

Safety is one of the key factors that can influence technology take up. Technology has the potential to significantly enhance safety, through measures such as advanced safety systems, removal of roadside and trackside equipment, and the rollout of equipment that uses ‘self-healing’ materials such as polymers and composites.

It will be particularly important to implement safety technology and ‘safe system’ principles in regional and outer metropolitan NSW, which accounts for 40 per cent of the state’s population, but experiences two-thirds of fatalities each year – a person is around four times more likely to lose their life on a country road than on a metropolitan road.

To improve road safety, Transport for NSW ensures that vehicle safety technologies are taken up as quickly as possible to improve outcomes for customers. World-class products are sourced against national and international industry benchmarks to obtain best practice. Consequently, industry is becoming more willing to use these technologies and is also able to better innovate towards safe and efficient outcomes.

A number of individual automated vehicle safety technologies are already available or being developed, which can deliver safety benefits in the immediate term. These technologies include electronic stability control, lane keep assist, intelligent speed adaptation and adaptive cruise control; as well as autonomous emergency braking, collision avoidance and hazard protection systems, road signage detection, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, post-crash notification systems, fatigue and distraction detection, and blind spot monitoring.

Technology will also play an increasing role in network security, particularly in relation to cyber security and data authentication within the safety system and best-practice frameworks, to better predict and manage tension across the network.

Transport for NSW’s Centre for Road Safety has successfully trialled Artificial Intelligence-based technology, leading to the world’s first automated enforcement program of illegal mobile phone use while driving. It is developing and researching emerging road safety technologies, including intelligent safety systems such as GPS, wireless communications and video detection systems. 

The Centre for Road Safety also considers ideas from the public for new road safety concepts and evaluates the potential of safety systems to reduce road trauma.

Future directions to investigate

  • Continue progressing towards zero trauma on all parts of the transport system, by delivering safe systems, supported by technology built into all networks
  • Continue implementing the Road Safety Plan 2021 and the Maritime Safety Plan 2017-2021, develop the next five-year plans, and work with the Australian Government to develop an updated National Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan, to reduce fatalities and trauma experienced on the NSW road network.
  • Develop a set of public safety performance measures to track improvements in the transport network over time.
  • Set ambitious but achievable trauma targets to help guide our investment and reflect the NSW government’s commitment to make NSW roads the safest in the country. Deliver a 30-per cent reduction in road fatalities and serious injuries by 2021, compared to 2008 levels and continue to move towards the target of zero road trauma on our roads by 2056.
  • Conduct safe system assessments, and incorporate safety measures at the design and construction stages of all new and renewed transport assets and infrastructure.
  • Ensure infrastructure supports fully-automated vehicles on high-volume corridors, including connected vehicle technology options to support safe travel for all user groups including working with the Australian Government to develop a national approach to regulating automated vehicles (AVs) when they are commercially deployed on our roads.
  • Incorporate safety technologies on shared road space and interchanges for pedestrians and bike riders, and on waterways. 
  • Prioritise separation of road users where possible, to reduce risk, including median barrier separation on all key road corridors with high traffic volumes.
  • Continue leading safety improvements on the network through the NSW Government’s fleet purchasing policy, which requires all vehicles to have a 5-star Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) rating.
  • Ensure all new passenger vehicles are fitted with advanced safety features, such as lane keep assist, auto emergency braking, intelligent speed adaptation and driver monitoring systems.
  • Ensure all new state roads are designed to 4- or 5-star standard. 
  • Continue to have an evolving and robust research program that includes research into new vehicle technologies, behavioural and policy reform, trials of road and roadside safety products, and program evaluation and ‘safe system’ analysis.
  • Continue priority actions to build a safer community culture and accelerate innovative solutions to move Towards Zero with the aim for everyone to adopt ways of making every journey a safe journey.
  • Continue to work with NSW Police to delivery optimal enforcement levels to deter risky behaviour among motorists.
  • Deliver integrated and connected transport interchanges that cater for all users and provide safe access to and from the existing network and surrounding environments.
  • Continue to work with the Australian Government to develop the National Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan.
  • Continue providing education campaigns for drivers, people on our waterways, public transport users, bike riders and pedestrians.
  • Provide education campaigns to address safety and education around level crossings.
  • Investigate and assess technology solutions that increase the safety of bike rider interactions with on-street running light rail networks and associated infrastructure.

Six principles for Future Transport

The Future Transport 2056 Strategy is focused on six key principles for the future of mobility in the state, which together aim to positively impact the economy, communities and environment of NSW.

Read more