Progressing road and traffic management practices

The Police Commissioner and Secretaries for Transport and Infrastructure signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to formalise standards for the construction and maintenance of roads and to adopt guidelines for the marking of roads, traffic control measures and signs, and for parking. The MOU was signed on the 4th December 2023.

“The Infrastructure Act 2019 amended section 3 of the Transport Act 1966 by making the Police Commissioner and Secretary for Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) responsible for developing protocols related to roads, traffic control and signage, and parking” says Elizabeth Koteka-Wright, Secretary for ICI. “We actually already employ the use of some international standards and guidelines but we are finally formalising practice through this MOU. Added to this, we are also adopting and adapting other engineering and road sign standards under the Infrastructure Act as is currently stipulated” says Koteka-Wright.

“Most vehicle accidents are related to driver carelessness and poor judgement” says James Keenan, Police Commissioner. “We have a Transport Act that needs bringing into the twenty first century to recognise the changes in vehicle ownership, the modern lifestyle and modern vehicles that are getting larger and faster” says Keenan. “The 2019 amendment to the Transport Act allowed us to start modernising our transport related rules to reflect what is happening today. More work needs to be done of course and we continue on that journey” he adds.

“Looking to guidelines from countries that have lessons learned could help us better manage the effects of high vehicle numbers, especially on Rarotonga. While at the same time ensuring that the adoption of guidelines suits the Cook Islands context”,” adds Hosking.

After the MOU is signed, a road sign standard will be gazetted as required under another amendment – section 114 of the Transport Act. The three agencies will then start moving on a few actions to better manage traffic in Avarua town to reduce risks and improve the pedestrian experience and some measures for public transport. “We are listening to public concern as well as our own observations and this is just the beginning of quite a bit of work to make our communities, starting with Avarua town a more enjoyable and safer place to be. We will be updating the public as we move along” ” says Koteka-Wright.