Road safety
performance

How we’re performing on road safety

All our road safety efforts contribute to our ultimate road safety goal of zero fatalities and life-changing injuries on our roads. Already, our roads among the safest in Australia.

We monitor, measure and compare our road safety performance, including by commissioning independent assessments of our roads. We do this to track our progress in meeting our performance targets and to assess our overall road safety success.

Road safety performance

How we’re performing
on road safety

All our road safety efforts contribute to our ultimate road safety goal of zero fatalities and life-changing injuries on our roads. Already, our roads among the safest in Australia.

We monitor, measure and compare our road safety performance, including by commissioning independent assessments of our roads. We do this to track our progress in meeting our performance targets and to assess our overall road safety success.

Tracking our safety performance

Data
Road incident
performance

How we’re progressing our ultimate road safety goal: zero fatalities and serious-injury crashes

Road Icon
Road infrastructure safety performance

See data from independent assessments of our roads’ safety performance

Research Icon
Measuring our road
safety performance

How we track and measure our road safety performance

Data

Road incident performance

Overall road safety performance

Data showing our overall road incident performance, including how we are tracking over time.

Overall crash data

Road Injury Crash Index

Reducing crashes is an ongoing process, encompassing every element of road travel, in line with the safe system approach discussed here. Every improvement we make contributes to overall crash reduction—and we’re always exploring new technology that will help improve the safety of our roads.

The chart shows our approach of continually introducing targeted and overall safety enhancements is reducing serious-injury crashes.

As this chart shows, our approach is also slowing the rate of non-injury crashes over time.

We note this chart combines serious injury and minor injury crashes as one category: injury crashes. See below for our crash-type definitions.

Understanding crash definitions

Our crash severity definitions may vary slightly from those used by other road safety authorities and reporting bodies.
Our crash severity definitions are:

Minor crash

A crash where no one received an injury.

Minor injury crash

A crash where someone needed first-aid but did not need ambulance transportation.

Serious injury crash

A crash resulting in someone being transported by ambulance.

Road Injury Crash Index (RICI)

Our RICI represents the number of serious injury crashes per 100 million vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) on our roads.

Our RICI has been trending downwards, even as VKT have increased on our roads over time (and acknowledging pandemic impacts have created some data anomalies).

Latest RICI numbers

3.78

RICI achieved 2021–22

4.25

RICI target 2021–22

For the 2021-22 Financial Year, we set a RICI target of 4.25 injury crashes per 100 million VKT. We achieved a RICI of 3.78, 11% lower than our target of 4.25.

Australian road safety performance data

The Australian road safety data shown here encompasses the entire Australian road network (including unsealed roads, for example). The most recent Australian road safety performance data shows:

1,106

road user fatalities in 2020,
down from 1,186 in 2019

39,598

Australians were admitted to hospital
with serious injuries following a crash

25.5%

of people hospitalised following a crash had high threat to life injuries (2018 latest available figure)

Source: Road trauma Australia 2020 statistical summary [PDF]

Road infrastructure safety performance

Assessing our road infrastructure’s safety performance

We engage independent agencies to assess our road infrastructure’s overall performance, including safety performance. These assessments apply internationally established and/or rigorously developed criteria to determine our performance.

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MUARC

Star

iRAP

Speedometer

Safety performance
in action

Road

Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC)

MUARC is a world leader in injury prevention research, underpinned by scientific and academic excellence. We engage MUARC to conduct independent assessments of our road’s safety performance, focused on crashes and crash outcomes.

Twice as safe as like roads

MUARC’s research found Transurban’s roads are twice as safe as like roads, and that Transurban has significantly fewer injury crashes than like roads. MUARC’s definition of a ‘like’ road is a freeway or motorway located close to a city centre, and other measurement requirements.

“Transurban-operated assets have a superior road safety
performance compared to roads of like, or comparable, function.”

– MUARC

International Road Assessment Program (iRAP)

iRAP is a registered charity that works to eliminate high-risk roads throughout the world. As a public-health organisation, iRAP uses an evidence-based approach to prevent unnecessary road deaths and injuries. In Australia, iRAP assessments are often referred to as AusRAP assessments.

Roads are assessed and awarded a star rating, from 1-Star to 5-Stars, with 5-Star roads the safest possible.

iRAP says that improving the world’s roads to a 3-star or better standard will make a key contribution to meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals target of halving road deaths and injuries by 2030.

Our iRAP assessment results
100%

of our roads received a
3-Star or higher iRAP rating

91%

of travel on our roads received a
4-Star iRAP rating

Source: iRAP

We engage the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), an independent transport research agency, to conduct iRAP assessments of all our roads.

Safety performance in action

Toll roads must provide value for money, and this includes providing safer journeys for our customers. Transurban roads are high-performance roads—with multiple safety features, rigorous maintenance routines and round-the-clock incident response services.
See our NorthConnex case study below for an example of a high-performance road tunnel.

Case study: NorthConnex

Our $3 billion NorthConnex (twin 9km tunnels connecting Sydney’s M1 Pacific Motorway and the M2 Motorway) has been built for the future.

Australia’s deepest tunnels have been built with innovative features that will ensure ongoing safe travel as Sydney’s population grows and demands on roads increase. Examples include:

  • tunnels wide enough for three-lane capacity in each direction (currently operating as two) to reduce future congestion risk and safety impacts
  • a 5.1-metre tunnel height clearance (making it one of the tallest tunnels in Australia), reducing the risk of incidents with over-height vehicles and improving tunnel ventilation efficiency
  • a smoother and flatter road gradient for trucks and freight (compared with the alternate freight route) allowing vehicles to maintain normal travel speed and reducing the need for lane-changing inside the tunnel
  • innovative LED lighting displays that keep drivers alert and focused as they travel the length of the tunnels.
Lighting design informed by driver behaviour research

At 9km, NorthConnex is one of Australia’s longest tunnels. A detailed review of international safety research found travelling long distances underground, and with minimal sensory variations, can contribute to drivers losing concentration on the road.

This research, part of a wider study by Transport for NSW (TfNSW), Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), the University of NSW and Transurban, ultimately led to a new tunnel lighting approach for NorthConnex. At strategic locations within the tunnels, drivers are brought back to full attention by short, sharp lighting effects featuring trees, the night sky and speed-guidance lines.

These effects help drivers refocus, reorientate themselves and maintain a consistent speed as they make the (around) eight-minute journey through the tunnel.  

The tunnel’s alignment also encourages driver focus. Rather than one straight line, the tunnel design includes short sections of gently curving road so drivers continue to pay active attention as they drive.

A closer look at tunnel safety

All tunnels operated by Transurban include multiple safety features—including features designed to keep you safe while on
the road, and features designed to keep you safe during and after an incident. Click the hotspots to see these features.

Tunnel safety
Car radio broadcast cable for communicating with motorists inside tunnel
Public address system for communicating with motorists inside tunnel
Variable message signage allows safe management of changing traffic conditions
Variable lane access signage allows safe management of changing traffic conditions
Variable speed limit signage allows safe management of changing traffic conditions
Emergency telephones at regular intervals
Transitional lighting helps motorists adjust to tunnel lighting conditions
Incident detection cameras capture traffic variations and incidents and alert traffic control room for action
Moveable CCTV cameras capture traffic variations and incidents and alert traffic control room for action
Automatic overhead sprinkler system throughout tunnel
Fire-fighting equipment (every 60 m)
Emergency exit (every 275 m or less), with lighting, signage, footpath and protective bollards
Linear thermal detectors
Ventilation system
Ventilation system
Linear thermal detectors

Measuring our road safety performance

Tracking our progress towards our ultimate road safety goal

Our safe system approach to road safety is an internationally adopted approach: it also informs how we measure our overall road safety performance. Everything we do is aimed at our ultimate target of zero fatalities and serious-injury crashes on our roads.

Safe system approach

United Nations Sustainable
Development Goals

Safe system

Transurban adopted the safe system road safety approach in 2016. This approach, used internationally by governments (including the Australian Government), international agencies (including the United Nations) and other transport operators, considers all causes of crashes together.

This approach also recognises that collective effort is needed to improve safety, and advocates for integrated solutions encompassing:

  • safer roads
  • safer vehicles
  • safer road users
  • safer speeds
  • safer crash responses.

The safe system’s principles inform our operations and performance measures, including working towards achieving our ultimate target of zero fatalities and life-changing injuries on our roads.

The safe system approach is integral to how we track, measure and report on our road safety performance.

Safety diagram

Shared responsibility, united effort

Our approach aligns with the Australian Government’s National Road Safety Strategy 2021–30 [PDF] that reflects the safe system approach and focuses on strengthening all elements of Australia’s national road transport system through “improvements under three key themes: safe roads, safe vehicles and safe road use”, with speed management embedded within all three themes.

United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals

The safe system approach also underpins the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We report on our performance against relevant SDGs annually in our Sustainability Supplement report [PDF], a companion to our annual Corporate Report [PDF].

Established actions and targets

SDG3, Good Health and Wellbeing, includes a target of halving road deaths and serious injuries by 2030. We have established a set of actions and targets that help us track how well we are contributing to the achievement of SDG3.