Strong community support for Safer Speeds’ trial on Shire roads

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An interim community sentiment study assessing safer speeds on the Mornington Peninsula has shown strong community support for the reduction of speed limits to match the road environment.

The study comes at the half way point of a two year trial in which 33 Shire-managed, high risk sealed rural roads have had speed limits set at 80 km/h. Many of these roads, had a significant history of road deaths and injuries, and high crash risk rating when speed limits of 100 km/h and 90 km/h applied

The interim survey provides early insights into community feedback about the trial. Key findings include:

  • Support for the speed trials: 59% of people support, 21% of people oppose (just 7% of people strongly oppose), 20% of people neutral
  • Lower speed limits reduce road trauma – 66% agree, 16% disagree
  • I believe a safe journey is more important than a quick journey – 89% agree, 2% disagree
  • My chance of being involved in a crash on sealed rural roads is much higher at 100 km/h than 80 km/h – 64% agree, 21% disagree
  • The reduced speed limits will result in less road crashes – 57% agree, 24% disagree
  • The reduced speed limits are appropriate – 54% agree, 26% disagree
  • The reduced speed limits make me feel safer – 50% agree, 30% disagree
  • My local journeys will have minimal time difference because of the trial – 59% agree, 23% disagree
  • The reduced speed limits will help reduce the level of road trauma on the Peninsula – 59% agree, 21% agree
  • Future actions: Make Safer Speeds trial permanent – 51% agree, 29% disagree

The trial which commenced in late 2019 was established to analyse detailed quantitative and qualitative information about crash statistics, vehicle speeds, and the community’s views. The Victorian Department of Transport is evaluating the trial. Data collection will be ongoing until the end of the trial, with results reported in early 2022.

Quotes attributable to Mayor Councillor Despi O’Connor

“This pioneering trial was requested by Council in 2019 after we tragically registered as Victoria’s second worst municipality for road trauma for that year, including six deaths on the 33 Safer Speeds roads alone”.

“Since the implementation of the 80 km/h speed limits, there has not been any fatalities involving these roads. While we await the results of the evaluation of the impact of the speed limits on fatalities and serious injuries, it is a very pleasing start to the trial”.

“What we also find pleasing is the positive community sentiment towards the trial, particularly with almost three times as many people supporting the initiative as opposing it. It debunks the perception that matching appropriate speed limits to the road environment would be viewed negatively by the broader community”.

“While there are still many months of the trial period ahead of us, this interim study has identified some positive results that support our commitment to being a Towards Zero Municipality”.

The main component of the research was a survey that could be completed online or via phone. Participants were a randomly selected demographically diverse sample of Shire residents.

The survey was undertaken between early November and early December 2020. There were 1059 respondents to the survey which is considered a robust sample size with the results representative of the Mornington Peninsula Shire population.

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