Retrospective and Projected Future Impact of Characteristics of the New Zealand and Australian Vehicle Fleet on Pedestrian Injury

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #320 [April 2014]

Authors:  Keall, M., D'Elia, A., Newstead, S. and Watson, L.

Full report in .pdf format [2.00 MB]


The objective of this study was to measure changes in pedestrian fatal and serious injury rates associated with gradual changes in the New Zealand and Australian light passenger vehicle fleet, and to project potential future changes in pedestrian fatal and serious injury rates that might arise with different scenarios of fleet changes and of safety technology uptake. From 2003-2011, it was estimated that improvements in pedestrian injury severity ratings saved an aggregate at least 37 fatal and serious injuries in New Zealand and around 340 in Australia. If these improvements were to continue with expected trends, compared to 2003 the 2020 fleet will have safety characteristics that will save an estimated additional 28-32 fatal or serious pedestrian injuries per year in New Zealand and around 170 additional per year in Australia. Using the characteristics of the 2011 fleet as a basis, the safety effects of a technology assumed to prevent 10% of pedestrian injuries was modelled. In aggregate over a 20-year period from the introduction of this technology to all new vehicles, 3.8% of all pedestrian injuries were estimated to be prevented. The penetration of emerging safety technologies into the New Zealand fleet is impeded by the current dominance of used imported vehicles from Japan. Some analysis was carried out of the expense justified by an emerging technology to prevent pedestrian injury. A technology that prevented 100% of pedestrian injury would justify an additional $914 per vehicle spent per vehicle to fit this technology. A technology that prevented only 10% of pedestrian injury, more realistic of typical technology effectiveness, would only justify an additional $91 per vehicle. This is likely to be insufficient to cover the expense of technologies such as the pop-up bonnet or hood, and pedestrian airbags, aimed specifically at preventing or reducing the severity of pedestrian injury. Nevertheless, many technologies, notably Brake Assist Systems, Intelligent Speed Adaptation and Collision Warning Systems have the potential to increase safety for all road users, including pedestrians. The likely wider applicability of the safety effects of these technologies increases the potential safety benefits, and also the acceptability to the motorist, who must pay for the additional costs of the technology when purchasing the vehicle.


This project was funded as contract research by the following organisations:

Centre for Road Safety - Transport for NSW, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria Ltd, NRMA Motoring and Services, VicRoads, Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia Ltd, Transport Accident Commission, New Zealand Transport Agency, the New Zealand Automobile Association, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, Royal Automobile Association of South Australia, Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure South Australia and by grants from the Australian Government Department of Transport and Infrastructure, and the Road Safety Council of Western Australia