Setting speed limits in Victoria

In Victoria, speed limits are set in accordance with the Traffic Engineering Manual, Volume 1, Chapter 7, Speed Zoning Guidelines. Setting speed limits in this way will ensure that they are consistent and credible throughout the state. A number of factors and criteria are considered when determining what speed limit might be appropriate for a particular road section. These criteria include:

a)   Road and road environment:

  • road function (e.g. arterial road, non-arterial local road)
  • presence and width of median
  • presence of service roads
  • number and type of intersections
  • vertical and horizontal alignment

b)   Abutting development:

  • nature and density of abutting development (i.e. rural, fully or partially built-up, etc.)
  • type of development (e.g. houses, shops, schools, etc.)
  • type and volume of traffic generated

c)   Nature and level of road user activity:

  • traffic volume
  • presence and type of public transport
  • presence of pedestrians and cyclists
  • heavy vehicles (i.e. trucks and buses)
  • presence of recreational traffic

d)   Crash record/crash risk

e)   Existing operating speeds

f)   Speed limits on adjacent road sections

Lowering of speed limits should not be used to compensate for sub-standard road infrastructure. Where the operational safety of a road or length of road is unsatisfactory (i.e. the crash rate is high) the primary response should be directed at identifying and implementing infrastructure measures that address the specific safety problem. However, where infrastructure improvement options have been exhausted or are not feasible in the short term and current risks are unacceptably high, a reduced speed limit may be appropriate.