The community road safety project has earned Nelson City Council the Traffic Institute of New Zealand’s (Trafinz) Sustainability Leadership Award.

The award is one of two top awards granted by Trafinz to organisations, individuals or communities that make an outstanding contribution to transportation safety and sustainability leadership in New Zealand.

Trafinz Vice President John Goettler praised the project for being a positive example of how to promote mode shift in communities.

“People, and society as a whole, must aim to shift travel modes for the health of their communities and the environments they live in.

“This initiative is doing it for Nelson, while being a model for local authorities throughout New Zealand, as well as providing a practical example of how to be responsive to communities, residents and users.”

Another Council project, 'Pedalling Equity', a Bike Library trial for Nelson Intermediate School students, was also acknowledged by Trafinz.

The project received a Certificate of Merit for Sustainability, with Trafinz commending the project for enabling people to experience what it means to ride and be a part of their own community.

“This bike library trial is a fantastic transportation sustainability initiative with nationwide repeatability that must be commended for its grassroots leadership towards a healthy and sustainable transportation future.”

Nelson City Council Manager of Transport and Solid Waste and member of the 'Innovating Streets for People' project, Marg Parfitt, said it's great to see the team’s efforts receive national recognition.

“This project has not been easy, and like many places around New Zealand trialling this type of intervention, it was subject to some abuse and vandalism.

“However, steadfast leadership from Council and community champions enabled the team to press on, and the data is now proving projects like this work.

“These roads in Nelson South now have safe and appropriate speeds and less rat-running through-traffic, and residents are reclaiming their neighbourhood as a place for people first and cars second."

The data collected from the project has proven useful as Council begins exploring ways to prioritise pedestrian activity in the city centre with the recent approval of 'Te Ara ō Whakatū', the City Centre Spatial Plan.

The Trafinz award continues a successful run for Council in being recognised by the transportation sector as a leader in sustainable and innovative traffic solutions.

The 'Innovating Streets for People – Nelson South' project was also recognised earlier this year with the 3M Traffic Safety Innovation Award for 2021 at the Engineering NZ Transportation Group’s annual conference in Auckland. The premier road safety award recognises exemplary innovation and effectiveness in saving lives and preventing injuries on roads.