When I started getting active in following up walking issues, the Austroads Guidelines kept being brought up.
Who are Austroads? What do they even do?
From what I can gather, Austroads basically manage guidelines for road and traffic across Australia and New Zealand. Many of the road guidelines for NSW are based on Austroads guidelines.
The guidelines are pretty cool, in that they outline a bunch of supporting guidelines, which can help if you are trying to get a facility improved or fixed, eg. width requirements for footpaths:
But does it even matter?
I guess so, because actions / implementations have to start from some sort of framework..
But oh my, the speed at which policy and guidelines flow down into education and behaviour change, and then actions and implementation.
But that’s why it’s important for us to keep going. Keep reading up about best practice, keep using our voices to have our say and participate in a conversation with government and planning, so we can help guide and support this change move forward!
Speaking of which, Austroads’ Guide to Traffic Management (AGTM) has been updated with additional focus on improving pedestrian safety, access and health.
“We have not substantially updated pedestrian design guidance since 1995… Lack of guidance has made it difficult for planners and engineers working in state and local government agencies to introduce safe and attractive pedestrian facilities.
The result is that walking rates are static or declining, and pedestrian fatalities and injuries haven’t declined much in the last 10 years. In contrast, the safety of vehicle occupants has significantly improved.“
To be honest, the guidelines can be pretty dry to read, however, Austroads do offer free webinars / recordings where they walk you through an overview.
If it’s all too much, you can always go for a quick win – take a photo of footpath damage (aka trip hazard) and report it to your local council to be fixed. 🙂