By Alana Mitchelson
CARDINIA Shire was one of 13 councils from across Melbourne that met to discuss different approaches towards improving road safety and reducing the road toll.
The third annual Towards Zero Safety Leadership symposium focused on strategies that local governments could implement to help reduce road deaths and injuries to below 200 by 2020.
An afternoon panel session also gave council representatives the opportunity to share what steps they have taken to make a difference in the Towards Zero campaign.
Cardinia Shire general manager of assets and services Micheal Ellis and senior traffic engineer Nicholas Charrett attended the conference on Monday 15 August.
“Cardinia Shire’s Road Safety Strategy will soon be adopted by the council, following a period of community consultation earlier this year. The overarching road safety principles and examples covered at this forum will be applied to the strategy’s action plan,” Mr Charrett said.
“Road safety is a major priority for the council, and our most important consideration is the maintenance and management of 1500 kilometres of local roads.”
The conference sessions were delivered by road safety practitioners from across Australia, with keynote speaker Johan Strandroth from the Swedish Transport Administration who spoke about current examples of successful road safety initiatives around the world such as Sweden’s Vision Zero journey.
Transport Accident Commission (TAC) chief officer Joe Calafiore said he had confidence in metropolitan councils finding local solutions to local road trauma issues.
“Hearing from global and local road safety leaders will help councils and businesses at the conference learn how they can make the move towards zero,” Mr Calafiore said.
“The Towards Zero approach is based on the understanding that as humans, we all make mistakes on the roads. But we are not designed to withstand the forces involved in a crash, as ‘Graham’ has shown us.
“Having a safer overall roads system is the first step towards zero. But community understanding of Towards Zero is critical to its success. That’s why the leadership shown by local governments and businesses is so important.”
Towards Zero is a collaborative partnership between organisations including VicRoads, TAC, Victoria Police, the Department of Justice and Regulation, and local government to achieve zero fatalities on the road.