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Mornington Peninsula Shire’s two-year trial of 80 kilometre per hour speed limits on 33 Shire-managed, high risk sealed rural roads commenced in December 2019.

Many of these roads, which had previously been 100km/h and 90km/h, have a significant crash history and high crash risk, including: narrow lanes, large trees close to the road, table drains, and poor sight lines.

The purpose of the trial is to better match the speed limit with the road environment and characteristics of our high risk rural roads to reduce the likelihood of crashes occurring and also reduce the risk that vehicle occupants will be seriously injured or killed if a crash does occur.

The trial is only for Shire-managed high risk sealed rural roads and does not affect any Peninsula arterial roads, such as: Peninsula Link, Moorooduc Highway and Westernport Highway.

This trial is a great step towards making our roads safer, especially as we are tragically one of Victoria’s worst municipalities for road deaths.

Over the past five years, there have been 165 casualty crashes on our local rural sealed roads.

In 2019 alone, we had 12 deaths and over 100 serious injuries – six of these deaths were on the high risk sealed rural roads. Any death is far too many.

In recent history, there has been a high instance of single vehicle crashes on Peninsula roads. A relatively small reduction in average speed can have a disproportionally large decrease in risk of people being killed or seriously injured - by reducing the average speeds on these roads by 10km/h, the risks of serious injuries or death can be reduced by an estimated 35% and 40% respectively.

To obtain a similar outcome by improving road infrastructure through widening roads and installing safety barriers would require the removal of thousands of trees - devastating the natural environment where these roads are situated.

While speed is not always the cause of a crash, the speed of a vehicle at impact will always determine how severely people are hurt as a result.

Shire-managed roads on the Peninsula are typically in very good condition, however even with perfect roads, drivers will make mistakes. Research shows that reducing the speed limit will reduce the frequency and severity of crashes and ultimately contribute to saving lives.

The impact on travel times is minimal. The longest stretch of road in the proposed trial is Browns Road (12km), where the new speed limit of 80km/h adds less than a minute to a journey (according to field tests). The majority of the roads under the proposed trial are less than a quarter of the length of Browns Road, therefore the impact on travel times along these roads will be insignificant.

The trial is being comprehensively evaluated by the Victorian Department of Transport.

As part of evaluating the trial, Wallis Market and Social Research were engaged by the Department of Transport to design and undertake a community sentiment survey to understand the community’s feelings about the trial. The survey was a targeted survey where the 1,059 participants were a demographically diverse sample of randomly selected Shire residents. The survey was undertaken in November 2020. The results of the survey showed strong community support for the trial with almost three times as many people supporting the trial as opposing it - 59% of people support, 20% of people neutral, 21% of people oppose (of which 7% of people strongly oppose). For further information, refer to the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ and ‘News’ tab below.

Roads part of the Safer Speeds Trial

Frequently Asked Questions

Safer Speeds – 12 month / halfway update

What is the outcome of the Safer Speeds trial?

Data collection was completed at the end of the two-year trial.The data will now be analysed, evaluated and reported in mid 2022.

Are there any initial results currently available?

An extensive community sentiment survey has been undertaken to better understand how Mornington Peninsula Shire residents feel about the trial. Refer to the below FAQs regarding the community sentiment survey for further information.

In relation to road trauma on the 33 roads, since the implementation of the 80 km/h speed limits in late 2019, there has not been any fatalities involving these roads.This is compared to six deaths involving these roads in 2019 alone. Crash statistics will be further analysed as part of the evaluation of the trial.

What is the impact of COVID-19 on the trial, community sentiment survey and evaluation?

Although respondents reported they were driving less frequently at the time of the community sentiment survey compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not believed this had an impact on the survey results or respondents’ views of the project.

Respondents are generally experienced in negotiating different levels of traffic and the survey was conducted at a time when traffic had returned to close to pre-lockdown levels.

Traffic counts undertaken on the trial roads coincided with the timing of the community sentiment survey (late November/ early December 2020 after COVID-19 lockdowns).

Data from the surveys showed the volume of traffic was back to being close to pre-COVID levels.

The relationship between the 80 km/h Safer Speeds speed limits and the reduction in fatalities involving the Safer Speeds roads from before (2019) and after (2020 and 2021), and any impact COVID-19 travel restrictions had on this will be analysed in the final evaluation in mid 2022.

How will COVID-19 travel restrictions during the trial affect the results of the trial evaluation?

The timing of data collection has been carefully assessed to minimise any potential influence of the management of the pandemic. Impacts of these restrictions on the trial will become clearer following detailed traffic data analysis.

The evaluation will consider and take into accounts these potential impacts.

Community sentiment survey FAQs

Why was the community sentiment survey conducted?

The community sentiment survey was conducted to better understand how Mornington Peninsula Shire residents feel about the trial, as well as to gain an understanding of their views on road safety and speed on the road more generally.

Does the community support the trial?

The survey found there to be majority support for the trial in the Mornington Peninsula community. Notably, almost six in ten (59%) of Mornington Peninsula Shire residents surveyed supported the safer speed limits, compared with 22% who did not support, and half (50%) of those surveyed agreed that the speed limits make them feel safer, compared with 29% who disagreed.

Further, just over half (51%) of respondents agreed that the reduced speed limits should be made permanent, compared to less than a third (29%) who disagreed.

What impact do residents think the 80 km/h speed limits will have?

The safer speed limits are based on evidence that adjusting speed limits to match the road environment and safety features of roads improves safety and lowers road trauma. Nearly 60% of respondents agreed that the reduced speed limits will help reduce the level of road trauma on the Peninsula, compared to 21% who disagreed.

How representative of Shire residents is the community sentiment survey results?

The survey was designed so participants were a demographically-representative sample of randomly-selected Shire residents. This sampling approach was designed to reduce bias in the survey due to the wide coverage of the sample, random nature of the selection process and multiple modes of completion options (telephone and online). The sample size of the survey was 1,059 responses, which is considered a robust sample size to ensure a representative view of a population of this size.

What part does the community sentiment play in the evaluation?

The community’s views are an important aspect of managing speed limits, therefore the Safer Speeds evaluation is seeking to understand the community’s feelings about the 80 km/h speed limits after the implementation. Other aspects forming a key part of the evaluation include vehicle speeds and crash statistics.

Have similar community sentiment surveys been completed in other areas?

Speed limit corrections on this scale are uncommon in Victoria. This trial has presented a unique opportunity to understand community attitudes to lowering speed limits to save lives and reduce road trauma, by surveying a representative sample of Mornington Peninsula Shire residents

By engaging proactively with the community in this way, we have been able to ensure the views captured are more representative of overall community sentiment than past methods of engagement that relied more heavily on community members’ own initiative to have their voices heard.

Where can I get more information about the community sentiment survey?

A detailed report on the community sentiment survey is available in the ‘Related Information’ section on the right side at the top of this page

Where have the statistics and road safety data mentioned in the Discussion Guide (Appendix 3 in the community sentiment report) come from?

Statistics on road trauma used in the report and underlying research have been sourced from Department of Transport and/or Transport Accident Commission databases.

Other supporting data has been sourced from AustRoads. If you would like further information on the research used in this report, the following AustRoads publications provides a good starting point:

Towards Safer System Infrastructure: A Compendium of Current Knowledge https://austroads.com.au/publications/road-safety/ap-r560-18

Are there any initial results currently available?

An extensive community sentiment survey was undertaken in November 2020 to better understand how Mornington Peninsula Shire residents felt about the trial. Refer to the below FAQs regarding the community sentiment survey for further information.

Since the implementation of the 80 km/h speed limits in late 2019, there have not been any fatalities involving the 33 trial roads. This is compared to six deaths involving these roads in 2019. Crash statistics will be further analysed as part of the ongoing evaluation of the trial.

A State Government report on the trial is expected in the second half of 2022.

Safer Speeds Trial and evaluation FAQs

What is the Mornington Peninsula Shire Safer Speeds trial?

The Mornington Peninsula Shire Safer Speeds trial is a two-year safer speed limit trial undertaken by Mornington Peninsula Shire. Since late 2019, 33 council-managed high-speed sealed roads that were previously zoned as either 100km/h or 90km/h speed limits were changed to 80km/h.

Which roads are included in the trial?

A map and list of the roads included in the trial are attached located in the drop down tab 'ROADS PART OF THE SAFER SPEEDS TRIAL' on this page.

The trial is only for Shire-managed high risk sealed rural roads and does not affect any Peninsula arterial roads, such as: Peninsula Link, Moorooduc Highway and Westernport Highway.

Who is conducting the trial?

Mornington Peninsula Shire implemented the Safer Speeds trial. The Victorian Department of Transport is providing an independent evaluation of the trial.

When will we know the outcomes of the trial evaluation?

Data collection was completed at the end of the two-year trial.The data will now be analysed, evaluated and reported mid 2022.

Will these speed changes be made permanent after the trial period?

The outcomes of the trial will be determined following the Victorian Department of Transport’s evaluation of the project.The evaluation is expected to be complete by mid 2022.

Is it only visitors to the Mornington Peninsula visitors that crash?

Based on information supplied by the TAC, from 2014 to 2019 Mornington Peninsula residents made up 59% of those who lost their lives and 77% of those who suffered serious injuries on Mornington Peninsula roads.

Why are other roads in the area not being included in the trial?

This trial focuses on improving safety along high-speed, high risk Council-managed sealed rural roads as a priority as they are unsafe at high speed which is represented by a large proportion of the fatal and serious injury crashes on the local road network.

While we know from traffic count data the average travel speeds on unsealed roads are generally much lower than sealed roads, the Shire is currently investigating the safety of unsealed roads.

Safety on State managed roads will also continue to be monitored.

The trial does not preclude future investment in Mornington Peninsula Shire or Department of Transport road safety improvement projects.

Why is the Shire trialling safer speeds on these roads?

This trial is a step towards making our roads safer.

Over five years to 2019, there were 165 casualty crashes on our local rural sealed roads.

In 2019 alone, we sadly had 12 deaths and over 100 serious injuries within the Shire – six of these deaths were on these high-risk sealed rural roads.

In recent history, there has been a high instance of single vehicle crashes on Peninsula roads. By reducing the average speeds on these roads by 10km/h, the risks of serious injuries or death can be reduced by an estimated 35% and 40% respectively.

Many of the roads included in the trial have had a significant history of road deaths and injuries, and high crash risk, including: narrow lanes, large trees close to the road, table drains, and poor sight lines.

While speed is not always the cause of a crash, the speed of a vehicle at impact will always determine how severely people are hurt as a result.

Even with high standard roads, drivers will make mistakes. Extensive research shows reducing the speed limit will reduce the frequency and severity of crashes and ultimately contribute to saving lives. We also know that many crashes relate to compliant driving and can be just a simple error by a competent driver yet can result in death or severe injury.

Why did the Shire ask for a trial without consulting with the community?

Council needed to take action immediately to reduce the likelihood of further deaths and serious injuries on Peninsula roads.

Surveys conducted for a 2012 speed limit project showed a high level of support to reduce speed limits from 100km/h to 90km/h and 80km/h.

Why does reducing the speeding limit improve safety?

A relatively small reduction in average speed can have a disproportionally large decrease in risk of people being killed or seriously injured.

The reasons why 80 km/h is safer and more appropriate for rural roads with no safety barriers are:

  • There is a direct correlation between speed limit and average vehicle speeds.
  • The relationship between speed and road crashes has been studied extensively and is very clear: the higher the speed, the greater the probability of a crash and the higher severity of crashes that occur.
  • High speed roads with speed limits of 90 km/h and 100 km/h without adequate safety features are over-represented in road trauma across Victoria relative to comparable roads with 80 km/h speed limits.
  • By reducing the average speeds on these roads by 10km/h, the risks of serious injuries or death can be reduced by an estimated 35% and 40% respectively.
  • A head-on collision at 100 km/h will very likely result in a fatality (90%+ probability), whereas at 80 km/h it is approx. 30 – 40% chance and at 70 km/h it is approx. 10% chance.
  • The kinetic energy of a vehicle travelling at 100 km/h is 56% more than a vehicle travelling at 80 km/h. In the event of a crash, this additional kinetic energy must be absorbed by the vehicle and vehicle occupants, resulting in much more severe injuries and much higher probability of death.
  • At 80 km/h, events evolve slower with more time to observe what is happening and react to avoid a crash.
  • Speed is critical when it comes to how speed reduces under braking to avoid a collision or collide at a lower speed that is less likely to cause harm. One example provided by Austroads is that it takes 115m to stop from 80 km/h and 165m to stop from 100 km/h (a 43% increase in braking distance for a 25% increase in speed). With the rate of speed reduction increasing during the braking event, the slower the speed a vehicle is travelling when the driver begins braking, the more quickly they can get to a lower speed that is less likely to cause harm.
  • Roads that don’t have roadside and centre barriers are high risk at speeds above 80 km/h. High traffic volume State-managed arterial roads with 100 km/h speed limits are increasingly having roadside barriers installed, reducing fatalities and serious injuries by up to 85%, thereby making these roads more suitable for their 100 km/h speed limits. It is not feasible or practical to upgrade all roads with the required safety features, such as roadside and centre barriers etc to be safe for a 100 km/h speed limit

I’m a good driver, why should I have to drive slower?

Distraction and momentary inattention happens to all drivers. At 100 km/h a vehicle travels more than 50 metres in the couple of seconds it takes to adjust the stereo or check mirrors. Even if this is not you it could be a driver coming towards you that causes a head-on collision.

Lower speeds can help to avoid a crash. As the cars are travelling more slowly, there is more opportunity for drivers to react and avoid a crash. And, lower speeds result in a lesser severity if a crash does occur which could be the difference between being killed or surviving.

Why are speed limits being reduced when vehicles are now safer than ever?

Speed limits were historically set based upon sampling the speeds at which the fastest 15% of drivers felt comfortable travelling. We now understand much more about crash risks and the physical tolerances of human bodies to the forces experienced in crashes than when the default speed limits were originally set over fifty years ago.

The risk of being killed in a run-off-road or head-on collision, even in the best, modern 5-star vehicles, increases sharply above 70-80 km/h. This speed is lower still in older vehicles.

What impact do the safer speeds have on travel time?

The impact on travel times is minimal. The longest stretch of road in the trial is Browns Road (12km), where the new speed limit of 80km/h adds less than a minute to a journey (based on field tests).

The majority of the roads under the proposed trial are less than a quarter of the length of Browns Road, therefore the impact on travel times along these roads is negligible.

Why can’t the Shire upgrade the roads instead?

The Shire will continue to repair roads and complete safety upgrades during and after the Safer Speeds Trial. The trial does not preclude future investment in Mornington Peninsula Shire or Department of Transport road safety improvement projects.

Even with high quality roads, drivers will make mistakes. Reducing the speed limit will reduce the frequency and severity of crashes, and ultimately contribute to saving lives.

State managed arterial roads with 100 km/h speed limits are increasingly having roadside barriers installed, reducing fatalities and serious injuries by up to 85%, thereby making these roads more suitable for their 100 km/h speed limits.

Upgrading Shire managed roads to achieve the same road safety benefit as 80 km/h speed limits would require the removal of thousands of trees along rural roads to install crash barriers and would cost ratepayers many millions of dollars.

Matching appropriate speed limits to the road environment is the most cost-effective proven way to significantly reduce road trauma.

Is this just a revenue-raising exercise?

The Safer Speeds Trial is a Mornington Peninsula Shire project. The Shire receives no revenue from traffic fines.

News

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