The ACRS Local Government Network’s Speed Management for Safety webinar was held on Wednesday 14th June 2023, and involved a diverse range of presenters representing recent efforts undertaken in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and New Zealand.
The first presenter was Ian Thompson, Principal Advisor Urban Road Safety Program at Main Roads Western Australia. Ian presented on MRWA’s award-winning program that seeks to address speeding issues on urban streets. This project involved comprehensive analysis of the road network rather than individual intersections, resulting in a range of low-cost traffic calming solutions being implemented to reduce travel speeds on both residential and light industrial street networks. These interventions were then evaluated using Compass IoT vehicle movement data that uses Bluetooth device recognition to indicate travel speeds, with this data showing effective levels of speed reduction. This project ultimately produced a Strategy and Implementation Framework document for a Low Cost Urban Road Safety Program that MRWA will follow to implement the program in collaboration with local government.
The next presenter was Tracey Norberg, Road Safety and Traffic Officer at Goulburn Mulwaree Council in NSW. Tracy’s presentation focused on the use of mobile speed trailers to address concerns about speeding on residential streets. This program involves the use of two separate trailers that are typically placed for a two month period on streets with identified speeding issues. The trailers show indicative speeds to motorists, and display positive messages (a smiley face) if motorists are adhering to the posted speed limit. The trailers also detect the speeds of all vehicles travelling past the trailer in both directions, which is then collected and used to analyse vehicle speeds and identify trends than can help inform NSW Police when tasking Highway Patrol for enforcement. This scheme has been successful due to the close collaboration between Council and Police, and has also been an effective community engagement tool.
Our third presenter was Mathew McQuinn, Traffic and Transport Engineer at Mornington Peninsula Shire Council in Victoria, who presented another award-winning project on the implementation of Safer Speeds on Rural Roads. Mathew joined us from Canberra where he was attending the 12th Annual Australian Road Safety Awards to receive the Rural & Remote Programs Award for this project. Using a systemic batch approach for management of speed risk on local Council roads, this project was in response to a history of high levels of road trauma occurring on this council’s rural road network, which predominantly involved roads operating under the default 100km/h speed limit. Through advocacy efforts in response to a spate of traumatic events, council was able to receive state government approval to implement a two-year trial that reduced the speed limit to 80km/h on 33 rural roads that were operating with speed limits of 90-100km/h. Evaluation of this program indicates high levels of community support, with a survey indicating 59% showing support for the changes, and only 22% opposed, with no fatal crashes occurring since the changes to speed limits.
Our final presenter was Junine Stewart, Area Programme Manager at Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency. Junine’s presented on Waka Kotahi’s program to implement the New Speed Limits Rule which was introduced in May 2022 to help local governments better manage speeds on their road networks. This project involved a Pipeline Development Tool to achieve evidence-based management of speed limits by highlighting the highest risk intersections and road corridors, and then working with local government partners to deliver Safe System compliant solutions. The presentation also noted the recent changes to the Speed Management Guideline, which was completely re-written to incorporate Movement and Place principles for safe and appropriate speed limit setting. Local governments are now equipped to produce their own Speed Management Plans, which become available on the Waka Kotahi website once published. Following the four separate presentations, the panellists answered a number of questions raised by webinar participants. The event had over 200 participants registered, with active attendees numbering over 100 during the presentation.
There will be further opportunity to discuss these projects and everything else relating to speed management at the Local Government Network’s next online event on Wednesday 12th July 2023, involving a Roundtable format for participants to take a deep dive into everything that is speed management. This event will be for ACRS members only, so please click here if you would like to learn more about membership.