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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 travelling 10km/h slower, you reduce your risk of being seriously injured or killed in a crash by 20 and 30% 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 ‘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 will be ongoing until the end of the two-year trial then analysed, evaluated and reported in early 2022.

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

The survey was designed so participants were a demographically diverse sample of randomly selected Shire residents. The sample size of the survey was 1059 responses which is considered an adequate sample size to ensure a representative view of the community.

What part does the community sentiment play in the evaluation?

The community’s views are an important aspect of speed limit changes, 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.

What is the impact of COVID-19 on the initial results, trial and evaluation?

Although respondents reported they were driving less frequently than a year ago due to COVID-19, 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.

The most recent traffic counts were conducted in 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.This also coincided with the timing of the community sentiment survey.

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 any impact COVID-19 travel restrictions had on this is not yet able to be assessed but will be analysed in the final evaluation in early 2022.

How will recent health and travel restrictions 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 once the evaluation is complete.

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

General – speed trial and evaluation:

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 located in the Roads part of the Safer Speeds Trial tab 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 is implementing the safer speed 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 will be ongoing until the end of the two-year trial then analysed, evaluated and reported in early 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 following the two-year trial.

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 are 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 – 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 travelling 10km/h slower, you reduce your risk of being seriously injured or killed in a crash by 20 and 30% respectively.

Many of the roads included in the trial had have 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.
  • By travelling 10km/h slower, you reduce your risk of being seriously injured or killed in a crash by 20 and 30% 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 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 they begin 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%, making these roads more suitable for their 100 km/h speed limits. It is not feasible/ 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

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 (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 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%, making these roads more suitable for their 100 km/h speed limits.

Upgrading Shire managed roads to achieve the same road safety benefit as Safer Speeds 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 Safe Speeds Trial is a Mornington Peninsula Shire project. The Shire receives no revenue from traffic fines.

News

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