According to the 2026 Road Action Safety Plan, 35% of fatalities occur within built-up areas, with streets making up the large majority of the urban network. Almost four out of every five (78%) NSW serious injuries occur within metropolitan Sydney and regional urban areas.
The NSW Government has set an aspirational target of zero trauma on the transport network by 2050, and a 50% reduction in fatalities and 30% reduction in serious injuries by 2030. It is committed to improving road safety and reducing lives lost and serious injuries through a range of short and long-term initiatives.
Safety treatments can be considered in terms of how they reduce risk and in how they relate to place context. This system provides flexibility to provide safety while supporting the character of the environment.
The Safe System Assessment Framework for Movement and Place Practitioners provides guidance on suitable physical design and management of treatments to improve movement, place and safety outcomes concurrently. It recognises that places designed through the single lens of capacity, or road safety, may have unintended impacts for the liveability and enjoyment of a road or street. Integrating the NSW Movement and Place Framework with the Safe Systems Assessment Framework, the Guide provides planning practitioners with direction on improving place outcomes, to achieve a safe road and street environment for all customers.
Urban roads and streets are complex environments. Safety has never been more important as the diversity of users and modal choices grows. The safe system toolkit can be very different for a rural road compared to an urban street.
The role of ‘place’ and its importance in generating activity and destinations has a strong influence on achieving safe system objectives. It is not just the people travelling to or through a place, but also those travelling within; as residents, workers or visitors go about their everyday business. These people also stand to benefit from safer roads and streets.
Perceptions of safety are also important and can affect the liveability of places and add greater levels of traffic stress and discomfort to different users and different demographics.
Lower speed street design approaches aren’t used on motorways and highways. Applying the same logic, high speed road and highway standards are not appropriate for lower speed streets. The design speed and changes in speed zoning of roads and streets should be set in accordance with the road or street type.
Read more about context-sensitive design speeds in the Design of Roads and Streets Guide.
Appropriate speeds must reflect not only network operating needs but also the activities occurring to, through and within a place. Speed limits are a primary determinant of a driver and rider speed choice. Speed is managed both through regulatory (posted) speed limits as well as the physical elements of a road or street that contribute to a behaviour response from different users so that an appropriate and safer ‘operating’ speed can be achieved.
These physical features that assist with slowing movement can be found in place enhancing elements in the design solutions library.