New research highlights crash-risk in Auckland communities

03 April 2013

Research by The University of Auckland reveals the road crash injury risk in Auckland is higher among all Maori and Pacific children and is lowest among Aucklanders of Asian descent.

The findings are in research commissioned by Auckland Transport. The report “Social and Geographical Differences in Road Traffic Injury in the Auckland Region” highlights the Auckland communities where people are more likely to be involved in road crash deaths and injuries.

The University of Auckland research analyses the background of Aucklanders taken to hospital as crash deaths or with injuries between 2000 and 2008. It examines the rates of crash injury by age, gender, ethnicity and deprivation areas, as well as mapping these associations for the 21 Local Board areas.

The results of the research show that road crash injury rates per capita increase with levels of deprivation for all age groups. Road crash injury risk is highest among Maori in all age groups, and is also high for Pacific children.

The crash injury risk is also higher for those living in rural local board areas, and people from the southern Auckland urban area had among the highest rates.

“This suggests there are large inequalities in crash risk across Auckland and some of our most vulnerable communities could really benefit from road safety prevention efforts, particularly traffic calming and speed reduction”, says The University of Auckland researcher, Dr Jamie Hosking. The research is published in the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health (ANZPH).

Auckland Transport is currently working with 93 schools in the south Auckland area on the development of a Safe School Travel Plan, an increase of more than 200 per cent since 2010.

“We already had a relatively good understanding of where people crash on our road network, but this research shows how we could better target particular communities who have a higher risk of injury,” says Auckland Transport chairman, Dr Lester Levy. “This is a more proactive response to improving road safety, and we are already using the research to help prioritise our road safety engineering and education efforts with an increased focus in urban south and rural schools.”

Counties-Manukau Road Policing Manager, Inspector Julia Lynch says “We have seen some excellent road safety gains across Auckland in the past two years, with a record low road toll in 2012. But it’s going to be a challenge to keep the downward trend on track, so this new research will help us deliver road safety prevention efforts to the right communities”.

The research findings include a lower rate of road crash injuries among Asian Aucklanders. It also shows youth (aged 15 to 24 years) and older adults (aged 65 years and above) have higher crash injury rates than adults aged 25 to 64 years.

Pedestrian injuries are more common among children than adults, while cyclist injuries are as common among children as in adults. Males have higher injury rates than females, except among older adults.

A copy of the full research report ‘Social and Geographical Differences in Road Traffic Injury in the Auckland Region’ is available online at An overview of the 2012/13 Auckland Transport school safety improvements programme is also available highlighting the increased emphasis on schools in at-risk communities.