Thursday, 7 July 2016


The Land Transport Safety Authority.

That people still often refer to the LTSA as if it still exists indicates how much positive influence that organisation had on safety and did it with a relatively small and nimble staff and no budget of substance.

The Auckland engineering office had one manager and usually four or five engineers with four technical assistants looking after crash data.

The Auckland Engineering team in 2003, Brian the teams manger photoshopped in !

The whole LTSA Engineering team in Rotorua  

Auckland team of 2000 at another gathering at my place 

Another gathering at my place with mum and dad in attendance 

Between 1995 and 1998 the LTSA developed the Crash Analysis System (CAS) with RTI in Auckland as the prime contractor. CAS was the Windows version (on steroids) of all previous systems and was a project that was on time, on budget, world leading and award winning.

Along with looking after Northland and then South Auckland (Manukau City, Papakura and Franklin Districts) in a far more advisory role I spent a lot of time working on CAS between between 1995 and 1998. For a time I was seconded to the Research team to focus entirely on built-in data entry validation checks.

Quote from the CAS Help system

"A major strength of CAS is the integration between crash queries, mapping, map based queries and reporting. This online help system will assist you to understand how each of these processes is done; so you can maximise the information and insight you gain from the system.
CAS was developed in the mid 90’s and introduced in 1998, and the Ministry of Transport and the NZ Trans[port Agency have continued to develop CAS since that time. It won the "Excellence in the Use of IT for Decision Management" Computerworld award in 2001.

CAS was developed by a team lead by Stuart Badger (LTSA/MoT Scientist) with Chris Hewitt, David Croft, Geoff Holland and Simon Robson (LTSA Traffic Engineers) in conjunction with Relational Technology International (RTI), Geni New Zealand and Critchlow Associates "

The build team from RTI with the core LTSA team 

The test team from LTSA 

Some of the CAS outputs 

The CAS build remains a career highlight for me not least of which was working with an excellent vendor and with a bunch of people who knew what they were doing and how the information was used and all rowing the boat in the same direction. In other words totally about facilitation.

In 2004 we took CAS external via the web to "approved" clients.  A small group of us trained about 450 individuals in how to use CAS in three hour sessions of around 12 at a time- of course at that stage even the idea of mapping was an unfamiliar concept for some.

At the same time the engineering team was making the most of CAS and began proactively producing safety assessments for every local body in New Zealand as well as providing one for each of Transit New Zealand's (the State Highway managers) regions. I can't remember who had the idea originally but they became the Authority's most popular and respected safety product evolving over more than a decade.

Gathering in the Wangarei sub-office

Back row : Linda Janssen, Sofia Dennison, Chris Hewitt, Warwick Goold, Brian McSwigan, Marina Palalagi,  David Croft
Front : Karen Sandoy (Whangarei sub office) Mike Russell and John Garvitch (Whangarei Sub office) 

I think most peoples experience of the LTSA was the same - it might have had its weaknesses but it was a good organisation to work for - a common goal and not a case where a bloated admin starts becoming the tail that wags the dog. Something I've seen over and over as public sector organisations grow.

Engineering and research team at LTSA

Some of the crew taken at a gathering in 2016
Loni Faga (1997 -2002), Chris Hewitt (1973 - 2016), Lynette Billings (2007 - 2014), Linda Janssen (2003) and Sofia Dennison (1989 - 2015)

Then began the mergers ......

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