2023 ‘Road Safety’ Category Honourable Mention

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, VIC

Safer Speeds on Rural Roads

Photo of an 80km/h road with a truck on it with a sign on the side saying “SAFER SPEEDS SAVE LIVES”. Photo credit: Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, VIC

The Initiative

Mornington Peninsula Shire believes our ground-breaking ‘Safer Speeds on Rural Roads’ project is the largest local government led speed limit initiative ever implemented in Victoria.

Mornington Peninsula Shire has a strong commitment to address our history of unacceptably high levels of road trauma. One of our key actions has been implementation of 80 km/h speed limits across all 33 high-risk Shire-managed rural sealed roads that had 90 km/h and 100 km/h speed limits. The project was implemented in late-2019 as a systemic batch approach to speed limit management.

The objectives were to better match the speed limit with the road environment and characteristics of our rural roads. In line with Safe System principles, this reduces the likelihood of crashes occurring, and the risk of vehicle occupants being seriously injured or killed if a crash occurs.

The Victorian Department of Transport (DoT) coordinated a comprehensive evaluation of the project during 2022.

In summary, the 80 km/h speed limits have been successful, achieving a high level of community support (59 percent of people supported versus 22 percent opposition), reducing average vehicle speeds, and reducing road trauma by a significant 68 percent. Since implementation of the 80 km/h speed limits, there have not been any fatalities involving these roads, compared to six in 2019. With a significant proportion of deaths and serious injuries occurring on council-managed roads (35 percent across Victoria), a considerable reduction will need to be achieved to make significant progress towards Victorian and National road safety strategy targets aiming to halve road deaths by 2030.

Speed limit corrections are a critical element of road safety and must be a key part of the solution to reduce road trauma on local roads.

Cost efficient road safety improvements are essential due to the long lengths of road networks managed by local government (643,057 kilometres which is around 73 percent of the Australian road network), and tightening capital works budgets due to rate capping, as well as a growing range of services that councils deliver.

With these project results and DoT evaluation breaking new ground, there is potential for other councils to replicate our approach to achieve significant road trauma reductions.

Further information: https://shape.mornpen.vic.gov.au/safer-speeds

Photo of an 80km/h road with a sign underneath saying “NEW LIMIT”. Photo credit: Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, VIC

About the Category

The ‘Road Safety’ category recognises local government initiatives which:

  • improve road or roadside infrastructure with a focus on safety benefits including heavy vehicle transport;
  • improve emergency medical response services for those involved in road crashes; and/or
  • address the specific safety needs of vulnerable groups or target specific road user risk factors.

Successful initiatives in this award category benefit communities by:

  • making communities safer and more liveable;
  • reducing the financial costs of road congestion and transport accidents; and/or
  • contributing to reductions in deaths and serious injuries from road crashes.

See More