Safer speed to benefit all road users
Published on 19 November 2020
Safer speed limits will be introduced into Hobart’s CBD early next year.
The Tasmanian Transport Commission this week provided its support for the introduction of 40km/h CBD speed limit, citing its alignment with the Tasmanian Road Safety Strategy as a means to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on the state’s roads.
Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said the decision was particularly timely, with this week being National Road Safety Week, and that the speed limit reduction would bring Hobart in line with other capital and major cities.
“In the past five years, there have been 833 reported on-road crashes in Hobart’s CBD – that equates to 13 crashes every month, or nearly one every two days,” Cr Reynolds said. “It’s particularly sad to note that about 130 crashes resulted in injuries and three in deaths that changed many lives forever.
“A speed limit of 40km/h or lower is standard in many Australian CBDs and high-pedestrian areas as a means to reduce the risk and severity of crashes. Traffic travelling at slower speeds means less damage caused and more reaction time to avoid crashes.”
Cr Reynolds said lowering the speed limit by just 10km/h would have little impact on traffic flow but made a big difference when it came to avoiding collisions and reducing injury severity.
“As well as providing more time for drivers and other road users to react and avoid a collision altogether, the chance of a fatal injury on a pedestrian or cyclist is drastically reduced from 85 per cent at 50km/h to less than 30 per cent at 40km/h.
“We also know from our research that these lower speeds will produce less of the accidents that are Hobart’s biggest cause of traffic snarls.”
City Infrastructure Committee Chair Bill Harvey said recent engagement with a range of stakeholders had demonstrated broad support for the initiative.
“Support was received from the Road Safety Advisory Council, RACT, Tasmanian Transport Association and Metro Tasmania, among others,” Cr Harvey said.
“Independent traffic modelling was also commissioned and found that the new speed limit would not have any negative impact on travel time or congestion.”
Road Safety Advisory Council Chair Garry Bailey said the change was a step towards a safer city road network.
“The speed limit reduction in the Hobart CBD is in line with the Tasmanian Road Safety Strategy, which embraces the Safe Systems approach,” Mr Bailey said. “Local Government plays a key role in creating safer road environments for all road users, especially in high pedestrian activity areas with speed management measures such as this.”
Reduced vehicle speeds will also support actions to widen footpaths and to expand outdoor dining areas, promote active travel, and make it easier and safer for motorists accessing on-street parking.
The new 40km/h speed limit will apply in the area bounded by Harrington, Melville, Campbell and Davey sts with the following exceptions: Davey St and Macquarie St will remain unchanged at 50km/h, as will Harrington St between Davey and Macquarie sts. Current 30km/h zones in parts of Elizabeth and Liverpool sts will also remain unchanged.
In Elizabeth St, the new speed limit will be extended north to Brisbane St.
For more information on the implementation of the new 40km/h speed limit and to view the submission in full, visit hobartcity.com.au/SaferHobart.
New CBD 40km/h zones from 1 February 2021:
- Melville St and Bathurst St between Harrington and Campbell sts
- Harrington St between Melville and Macquarie sts
- Murray St, Argyle St and Campbell St between Melville and Davey sts
- Liverpool St and Collins St between Harrington and Murray, and between Argyle and Campbell sts
- Market Place, Trafalgar Place, Wellington Court,
- Harrington Lane, Watchorn Street, Victoria Street, and Bidencopes Lane