Invitation to comment: Reducing Speed Limits around Shopping Centres and Community Facilities (closing 18 December 2009)

The Department of Territorial and Municipal Services is seeking public comment on the issue of reducing speed limits around shopping centres and community facilities to 40 km/h.


Speed management is a critical component of establishing a safer road system. Reducing speed limits in areas where motor vehicles need to share the road with significant numbers of pedestrians and cyclists is in line with best practice road safety principles.

This is because the risk of death to a pedestrian or cyclist struck at 60 km/h is greater than 90%. At 50 km/h the risk decreases slightly to 80%. At a collision speed of 40 km/h the risk of death reduces significantly to approximately 30%.

The ACT already applies 40 km/h speed limits in school zones and work sites. There are also 40 km/h precincts in areas such as hospitals and universities, which come under the jurisdiction of those facilities.

Report by ARRB Group

Roads ACT has engaged ARRB Group to investigate, and prepare guidelines for, how reduced speed limits could apply to other areas, such as around shopping centres and community facilities.

The report by ARRB Group has considered the use of 40 km/h speed zones interstate, particularly in relation to ‘strip shopping centres’ on major roads. The ACT has an established and well defined road hierarchy, and does not generally have strip shopping centres.

However, ARRB Group advises that targeted application of reduced speed limits does have merit in the ACT context, and can provide improved safety for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. This would be in line with the safe system approach in the ACT Road Safety Strategy, as well as moves towards a stronger ‘Vision Zero’ philosophy.

A copy of the report is available for download below, or alternatively will be on display throughout the consultation period at Canberra Connect Shopfronts along with ACT Public Libraries.

  • 40 Km/h Speed Limits around Shopping Centres and Community Facilities Report ( PDF 1.5Mb)

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Proposed Approach

The report proposes that reduced speed limit zones would be most appropriate in areas with the highest pedestrian movements, namely Town Centres. They could also be applied to Group and Local Centres with high pedestrian movements across streets, on a case by case basis.

In line with standards for other speed zones, a minimum road length for these zones would be required, to avoid confusion to motorists. In larger centres, a 40 km/h precinct could be put in place, covering a number of adjacent roads.

It is not proposed to implement 40 km/h speed limits in the vicinity of community facilities which are not linked to shopping centres. However, the location of community facilities should be considered when setting the boundaries of 40 km/h precincts around shopping centres.

It needs to be recognised that a certain level of engineering works will be necessary to support the lower speed limit. Indicative costs for signage and traffic calming to install a 40 km/h precinct would be around $220,000 for a Town Centre, and around $150,000 for a Group Centre, but this may vary depending on the traffic calming measures already in place.

Have Your Say

An online feedback questionnaire on this issue is available by selecting the lnk below:

Hard copy versions of the questionnaire will be available throughout the consultation period at Canberra Connect Shopfronts along with ACT Public Libraries and is available for download below:

  • 40 Km/h Speed Limits around Shopping Centres and Community Facilities—Questionnaire ( PDF 179Kb)

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Public comment period closes on 18 December 2009.

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