Potential benefits and costs of speed changes on rural roads
Submission Date: 2004
This study explored the potential economic costs and benefits of changes to speed limits on rural roads in Australia. Net costs and benefits were estimated over a range of mean travel speeds (80 to 130 km/h) for the following road classes:
– freeway standard rural roads (dual carriageway roads with grade-separated intersections and a design speed of 130 km/h, usually designed as such when originally constructed) – other divided rural roads (not of freeway standard)
– two-lane undivided rural roads (standard-width and shoulder-sealed roads, with different crash rates, were considered separately).
Specific objectives were to explore a number of scenarios, such as:
– increasing limits on high standard roads with a low crash rate (per vehiclekilometre) from 110 to 130 km/h (or intermediate speeds)
– increasing limits on high standard roads with a low crash rate from 110 to 130 km/h subject to a variable speed limit system that would reduce speeds under adverse conditions such as poor light, bad weather or dense traffic ( VSL option )
– decreasing limits on lower standard rural roads with higher crash rates.