HDS Australia is currently undertaking road safety investigations at various locations in Eastern Victoria to develop applications to the Black Spot Programme. The Black Spot Programme is a long running road safety funding program, which targets locations where road crashes are occurring. $500 million has been committed to the Black Spot Programme from 2014-15 to 2018-19 by the Australian Government.
Preparation of Black Spot Programme applications is typically a three stage process. The initial stage involves the identification of sites within a local municipal region that meet the minimum eligibility criteria, which are that the location must have had at least two casualty crashes over five years or 0.13 casualty crashes per kilometre per year over five years. HDS Australia typically undertakes this review as a desktop exercise, using publicly available crash data.
The resulting list of eligible sites is used as input to the second stage of the process, during which field visits are undertaken to inspect the each site. An HDS Australia Senior Road Safety Auditor reviews the crash history, site conditions and other factors at each site to diagnose the crash problems, select appropriate countermeasures and design a remedial treatment.
The third stage is to cost the remedial treatment works, conduct an economic appraisal and calculate a Benefit Cost Ratio. The Benefit Cost Ratio provides a measure to identify site improvements which provide the best road safety outcomes, given the limited funds available for road safety improvement works. This measure is used as part of the Black Spot Programme application review process to determine which proposed projects will be allocated funding. Notably the minimum acceptable Benefit Cost Ratio has been recently reduced from 2:1 to 1:1, which means that a greater number of remedial treatment works will now be eligible for funding.
HDS Australia has had a history of success in the preparation of Black Spot funding applications. During the 2014-15 program HDS Australia delivered Black Spot investigations in more than 10 council areas. Of the total of 60 applications funded in Victoria in 2014-15, 23 of the successful applications were prepared by HDS Australia.
This year HDS Australia is continuing to prepare Black Spot funding applications for a number of Victorian councils. Five site investigations have already been completed and HDS Australia staff are currently preparing recommendations for remedial works, cost estimates and calculating Benefit Cost Ratios. Applications for this round of Black Spot funding close on June 30, 2015.