Too high, too low, or too many changes? undertaking a major speed limit review in Queensland
Speed limits in Queensland are set by the responsible road authority (either the Department of Transport and Main Roads or local government) according to strict speed limit guidelines. Speed limits aim to provide an efficient road network without compromising safety. A number of factors are considered when determining suitable speed limits for roads, including the number and configuration of traffic lanes; housing density and type of development; the amount of on-road parking; access to property arrangements; traffic signals and crash patterns. The Department of Transport and Main Roads conducted a public consultation process to inform a state-wide review of speed limits in 2013/14. A total of 3,365 submissions were received during the six week consultation period. These submissions, together with road crash data and road safety engineering information, were used to prioritise 100 roads for a complete speed limit review. This was a priority project for the Queensland Government that aimed to provide a credible speed limit system which is clear, consistent and easy for road users to understand and comply with. For the benefit of other jurisdictions considering undertaking a similar process, this paper describes the speed limit review process undertaken in Queensland. Particular focus is given to revising the speed limit setting guidelines; undertaking a large scale community consultation process; managing community and stakeholder expectations, including education about safe speed limit setting; and consulting and engaging with a myriad of stakeholders across the state such as local governments, the Queensland Police service and members of parliament.