The first raised safety platforms were installed in 2019 and 2020 so we have had plenty of time to see how well they work. They are now an important part of our road safety toolkit.
The number and severity of crashes in Hamilton has dropped significantly in places where raised safety platforms have been installed.
A raised safety platform is a flat topped speed hump. It’s not as jarring for drivers as a traditional judder bar. It’s designed to slow vehicle speeds just enough so that when people make mistakes they have time to react and avoid a crash. If a crash does happen, the human body has much better chance of surviving the impact at a slower speed.
We have started using safety platforms at busy intersections and in areas where there is a lot of walking and biking activity, particularly near schools. A person hit by a car at 50km/h only has a 10% chance of survival. If that car is going 30km/h, their chance of surviving increases to 90%.
This intersection was previously a high crash rate area where people had been seriously injured and someone had lost their life. No one has been injured here in the three years since the raised safety platform was put in.
No one has been injured at the Bankwood/Comries intersection since 2020 when raised safety platforms were installed at the roundabout approaches. Previously there were crashes every year in this area, some causing serious injuries.
Sometimes the whole intersection will be raised to give bus passengers and truck drivers a smoother ride while still calming the traffic. The Anglesea/Bryce intersection is a raised intersection – you drive up the ramp as you enter the intersection and then come down the other side as you exit. The crash rate has dropped here since the intersection was raised in 2020. Only two of eight crashes so far have led to people getting hurt and they were minor injuries.
Frequently asked questions
A raised safety platform is a flat-topped speed hump. It’s designed to slow vehicle speeds just enough so that when people make mistakes, they have times to react and avoid a crash.
If a crash does happen, the human body has a much better chance of surviving the impact at a slower speed.
The severity of injuries resulting from a crash is directly related to the pre-crash speed of the vehicle whether or not speed caused the crash. The data tells us that a person hit by a car at 50km/h only has a 10% chance of survival. If that car is going 30km/h, their chance of surviving increases to 90%. Raised safety platforms slow vehicles to safer speeds. They turn potentially serious injuries into minor injuries – or none at all.
Raised safety platforms are designed to slow vehicles to the speed that is safe for the situation. This is usually 30km/h where there are pedestrians or 50km/h where there are no pedestrians.
It doesn’t cost anything to lower your speed for a moment, but every injury has wider costs and flow-on effects for families, employers, communities and our health system.
Congestion is the result of more people living and driving in a growing city. We would see current levels of congestion growing with our without raised safety platforms.
Not every crash involves pedestrians. The raised safety platforms are for driver and passenger safety too.
The first raised safety platforms were installed in Hamilton in 2019 so we’ve had plenty of time to measure their effectiveness. We know they work.
Raised safety platforms are different to old fashioned speed bumps. Rather than jolting you to an uncomfortable halt, they’re designed to comfortably moderate your speed when entering and exiting the intersection. Raised safety platforms reduce speeds to a level where crashes can be avoided and crash speeds are survivable. This keeps everyone safe, including pedestrians and people on bikes. International research shows raised safety platforms reduce death and serious injuries by about 40%.
Raised safety platforms are installed near roundabouts to reduce the speed of vehicles travelling through the intersection. If they are too far away from the intersection there is less benefit and more risk because vehicles have time to pick up speed again. We also try to line up crossing points with people’s preferred walking and biking routes to make it more likely that they’ll always use the safest crossing area.
There’s enough evidence to support installing raised safety platforms to prevent crashes, rather than waiting for someone to get hurt before doing a retrofit.
Access Hamilton aims to move people safely around the city. We also want more people to be able to travel on foot, by bike or use micro-mobility devices such as scooters. Raised safety platforms support these aspirations.
They also supports the shared vision of Council and Waka Kotahi where no one is killed or seriously injured in road crashes. Learn more about the National Road Safety Strategy, Road to Zero.
Last updated 20 April 2023