The Speed Management Deep Dive brought together local government personnel and stakeholders, providing an opportunity to discuss how local governments throughout Australia and New Zealand can improve safety through the management of speed.
Focusing on local government areas of influence in managing speed on their network and highlighting initiatives already being implemented, the deep dive facilitated valuable discussions and shared opportunities and challenges local governments have experienced. Below is an overview of the discussions held:
- It was identified that early intervention is critical; knowing the priorities, hierarchy, use, and opportunities of the area all feed into the planning. If land use development and planning is done right, everything will work and will flow.
- In the planning and development process, sustainable transport should be considered and movement and place incorporated. The focus should be on people and not vehicles.
- Infrastructure can play a big role in managing speed and Councils having a speed management policy allows proactive planning rather than reacting to demand. It can identify and prioritise where speed management infrastructure is needed and incorporate movement and place, aligning to survivable speeds.
- Speed management infrastructure can be implemented from the design or planning stages in new developments, and can be self-explaining and self-enforcing, providing clear and appropriate speed prompts based on the road environment and the conditions. This is also an opportunity for Councils to document and set clear developmental controls outlining the expectations and design requirements for safety.
- Local governments have a leadership and advocacy role, although there are challenges with this. A big one is that Councils are not the controllers of setting speed limits or undertaking enforcement. There is an opportunity for local governments to have a greater role in setting speed limits as they have the local knowledge and understanding of how their network is used. However, still having consistency across jurisdictions is important.
- Local governments control a large fleet and with that have an element of control on vehicles which eventually go back into the community fleet. Having policies on purchasing vehicles and ensuring they have intelligent speed adaptation functionality and safety features will improve the safety of the whole fleet.
- Telematics within vehicles are providing opportunities to gather vehicle data and can lead to creating workplace speed expectations and enforcement. For this, clear guidelines and policies around how the data will be used, outlining employee expectations and what disciplinary action will look like will need to be developed.
- Local government staff can be a captured audience for training and awareness raising. Education can be provided in relation to driving for work and the expectations of staff for speed and its impact on safety and survivability. This can lead to a change in work culture and the expectation that driving safely is prioritised over the high pressure of getting to the next job.
- There are behaviour change opportunities in raising awareness in what is speeding and what is safe speed for conditions. This is also a challenge for Councils in regard to targeting all the different groups in a coordinated effort, and enforcement needs to be included to see culture change, though the focus of education should not solely focus on being caught.
If you are not member and would like to learn more about the ACRS Local Government Network, click here. A number of regular meetings and webinars are planned throughout the year and are shown on the LGN Events Calendar for 2023.