Home Skip to main content

Research Examines Australia to Improve U.S. Road Safety

Posted: Sep 25, 2020

Australia may hold important lessons for improving road safety in the United States, according to MPC researchers at the University of Colorado Denver. Despite similarities to the United States in terms of transportation, land use, and culture, there are 5.3 deaths per 100,000 in population on Australian roads each year, as compared with the U.S. rate of 12.4. The researchers examined differences in strategies related to seat belt usage and impaired driving, efforts to reduce speeds, and design-related factors, including a greater reliance on roundabouts and narrower street cross-sections as well as guidelines that encourage self-enforcing roads. They also looked at policy-related differences, such as stronger and more extensive enforcement programs, restrictive licensing programs, and higher driving costs. They noted that Australia also enacted its own version of Vision Zero - called the Safe System Approach - more than a decade before similar approaches were tried in the United States. Because Australia is more similar to the United States than European countries, the strategies and practices used there may provide direction for saving lives on U.S. roads.

Wesley E Marshall, Ph.D.
University of Colorado Denver

Forging a Path to Vision Zero in the US: A Critical Analysis of Road Safety in Australia

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050