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Striving for Safe System Speeds.
A Safe System road can be achieved by matching the speed limit to the infrastructure or vice versa.
The idea of reducing the speed limit, at locations where the road environment changes, is not a new concept. For decades, when the road environment changed (ie. water over the road, rough surfaces, road events or roadworks), Victoria has reduced speed limits to mitigate safety risks. As we move forward, and with the increased understanding of the human tolerances to physical forces, will reducing speed limits at locations that do not meet Safe System speeds be as acceptable?
Victoria’s current Speed Zoning Guidelines identify the need to manage vehicle speeds to balance society’s desire for mobility with its need for safety, but also acknowledge the Safe System as a basis for implementing speed management. The Guidelines take significant steps towards achieving a Safe System. The recent inclusion of School Speed Zones and Strip Shopping Centre Speed Zones show a commitment to the progression towards a Safe System.
With limited funding available for infrastructure improvements to the road network, this paper discusses the issues associated with a speed limit policy that would achieve a true Safe System.