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Research shows benefits of passing lanes

by Australian Road Research Board on January 21, 2019

Passing lanes reduce crashes, increase safety and improve journey times, according to new ARRB research.

In a report commissioned by Austroads, ARRB and the Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) found that passing lanes or overtaking lanes – the auxiliary lanes added to two-lane two-way roads to allow safer overtaking - led to one in six fewer crashes which cause injury.

As well as the 16% average reduction in crashes where passing lanes were introduced, other benefits include perceived safety by drivers, safer and improved operation of roads with passing lanes, and significant cost benefits, the research says.

Report lead author Dr Ian Espada of ARRB says the research shows passing lanes are a sensible, cost-effective measure ahead of a potential move to dual carriageway.

“A passing lane reduces congestion on average by 10% each time it’s introduced,” he says.

“There are improvements in operation and safety benefits. That’s both in terms of actual crashes and the perception of safety. They are a good investment.”

Drivers also like passing lanes and the benefits they bring. A survey of motorists’ attitudes to passing lanes was conducted as part of the ARRB and CASR research.

A key finding was that 84% of motorists will wait for the passing lane before overtaking on roads where they exist, rather than risking overtaking in the opposing lane on a two-lane road.

ARRB is involved in the analysis of passing lanes around Australia and can help State road agencies and road asset managers with guidance on passing lane best-practice.

ARRB has also developed software which analyses traffic on rural roads called TRARR, which is being used by authorities both in Australia and internationally.

Contact ARRB at info@arrb.com.au for further details on this.

You can find the full Austroads report here at the Austroads website

Dr Ian Espada will be the special guest on a free Austroads webinar on Tuesday 5 March, 2019, 1pm AEDT for an overview of this study. Registration is essential. Register via Austroads here

Topics: ARRB News, Research, Australian Road Research Board, Transport Data, Road Safety, Road Infrastructure