The Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) is an analysis of the major highways and motorways in Australia, as defined in the National Land Transport Network Determination 2014. AusRAP is a program run by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) and the state and territory motoring clubs. The AAA is the peak organisation for Australia’s motoring clubs and their eight million members. It advances the interests of its constituent clubs, and of all road users across Australia, with the aim of ensuring that motoring is safe, fair and sustainable.
The objectives of the Australian Road Assessment Program (AusRAP) are to:
- reduce deaths and injuries on Australia’s roads by systematically assessing risk and identifying safety shortcomings that can be addressed with practical measures; and
- put risk assessment at the heart of strategic decisions on road improvements, crash protection and standards of road management.
AusRAP adheres to the principles of iRAP, the International Road Assessment Program, which is the standard bearer of best practice. AusRAP comprises two distinct yet complementary methods for assessing the safety of Australian highways:
- Risk mapping is a measure of the real-life performance of a road network: it is based on crashes which have actually occurred. These crashes are a result of factors related to driver behaviour, the vehicle and the safety of the road. Highways are colour-coded on the map according to their risk ratings. Where a road has a poor risk rating, intervention through upgrades to infrastructure needs to be considered.
- Star ratings measure the inherent safety of the road infrastructure. They show the degree to which built-in safety features prevent crashes from occurring and reduce the severity
of those crashes that do occur. Star Ratings involve an inspection of several design elements such as lane and shoulder width, curvature of the road and the presence of safety barriers. Such features are known to influence the likelihood of a crash and its severity. Roads are assigned a score from one star (least safe) to five stars (most safe). By upgrading as much of the road network as possible to five stars, a safer overall road transport environment is created.
The preceding AusRAP reports are Star Rating Australia’s National Network of Highways (2013) and How Safe Are Our Roads? Rating Australia’s National Network for Risk (2011).