Investing in roads saves money

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Governments will actually save lives and save money on future health costs by investing long-term in the prevention of road trauma with better roads, a World Bank report has found.

The “Investing to Save Lives: An impact investment case for preventing road trauma” report included cases studies from around the world, including Australia which demonstrated “the powerful financial case for frontloading investment in safer road infrastructure”.

The report says road trauma is growing as are the hidden costs to health care systems, insurers, victims and their families, and society.

“Governments, insurers and service providers all stand to benefit from savings in future health costs if spending is directed to prevention of road trauma,” the report found.

However, instead of the long-term view of investing funds in better road infrastructure, our government seems fixated on short-term speed zone reductions, such as on the Oxley Highway, and the subsequent increase in speeding fine revenue.

It’s not an economically sustainable situation, according to the World Bank.

Their case studies, developed by Social Finance UK and Impact Strategist, are drawn from road safety programs in Australia which detail astronomical health costs resulting from road trauma and Cambodia where poor families have limited access to expensive health services, insurance protection or welfare.

Investing in road infrastructure will save money crash

“Action to mobilise resources and scale successful approaches to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals need to start now,” the report says.

“Governments, international financial institutions, philanthropes and private investors all have a role to play in developing these promising new tools to achieve that.”

But with governments only elected for three-year terms, it’s difficult to get them to shift their myopic focus to a longer-term view.

They are also addicted to the huge revenues of speeding fines which they tend to use to balance their budgets, rather than fix roads.

Transport Accident Commission road safety manager Samantha Cockfield says the benefits of crash prevention extend far beyond saving lives.

“This report helps decision-makers understand the economic benefits that come from investing in road trauma prevention and that those benefits are concrete and measurable,” she says.

7 Comments

  1. I whole heartily agree with Peter, i have been to the good old US of A,
    The roads are just a delight to ride on having done over 10,000 miles on 2 wheels it’s just a dream.(not just the highways but back roads also).
    We are riding on utter crap that is dished up that they call roads.
    If your out in the Cowra area travelling east or west/north/south please oh please take care for you can loose you motorcycle in some of the potholes.

  2. Buy an adventure bike and the roads won’t seem so bad. You may even find yourself seeking out bad roads so you can enjoy the capabilities of your bike.

  3. The place is run by second-rate fools. It has been since white settlement. But never mind, Australians seem to like it, so move along – nothing to see here.

  4. “But with governments only elected for three-year terms, it’s difficult to get them to shift their myopic focus to a longer-term view”…… it is exactly as you write, & “They are also addicted to the huge revenues of speeding fines which they tend to use to balance their budgets, rather than fix roads.” again another truism, with the Oxley now gone it will be sad to the tourism$$ $ in this area gone, rather than utilizing the aforementioned funds to upgrade services. Of course you never read about the Mobile Phone users ever getting booked just the continuation of Demonizing motorcyclists & the revenue raised from them. The Government is laughing @ us all in the pretend name of “Road Safety”.

  5. NSW country roads have taken an extensive beating this week, with all the rain. I rode 1200kms this weekend, and dodging sharp potholes was the order of the day. Everywhere. From Cooma to Dubbo, and back. Extremely dangerous. Fixing will be the usual patching.

    After just returning from my annual US tour, its obvious that Australia’s road engineers have no idea how to build a sustainable road surface. I suspect that there will be a sharp spike in fatalities, as more people loose control on our truly appalling country roads.

    1. Hey Peter, and your bitching about your roads, come down here, to Mexico. Your side of the Hume Hwy is a dream, ours is an efen nightmare.

      ” its obvious that Australia’s road engineers have no idea how to build a sustainable road surface. I suspect that there will be a sharp spike in fatalities, as more people loose control on our truly appalling country roads.”

      Indeed, built by the lowest bidder, not to a standard. Gotta pay the shareholders don’t ya know.

      1. The thing is, there ARE better ways to build roads, and the cost will be lower because they LAST.

        I’m talking about the US where they use a big muncher that basically chews up everything in front of it as it moves at snail pace, – and lays out a smooth carpet at least four inches thick behind it, – that will last forever. Cheap because it never needs patching.

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