Page 1849 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 May 2013

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What we found was that there was a substantial reduction in speed in those areas. I will just find the figures. What we found was that significant speed reductions of up to 10 kilometres an hour in Woden and 16 kilometres an hour in Gungahlin were achieved. Around three-quarters of the community, 74 per cent in Woden and 78 per cent in Gungahlin, supported the reduced speed limit on a permanent basis.

On those grounds, the government has taken a decision to further implement those 40-kilometres an hour zones in Belconnen, the city and Tuggeranong. At the moment, the necessary infrastructure is being installed, which includes a new speed limit sign, some speed-limiting devices and the necessary markings so that motorists are aware.

As members may have seen in the Civic vicinity, right outside the Assembly, and at the other town centres, variable message boards have gone up to advise motorists in the area of the coming changes, and I will issue further media advice when the new zones come into effect so that the community is aware that they are in place.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, what have been other outcomes of the reduced speed limits in Gungahlin and Woden that were implemented last year after the trial?

MR RATTENBURY: As I have already touched on, the main issue, after the trials were evaluated in Gungahlin and Woden, was the significant speed reductions—as I said, up to 10 kilometres an hour in Woden and 16 kilometres an hour in Gungahlin. This is very important in terms of improving the safety of the streets in these busy commercial districts.

The areas that have been chosen are based on criteria of having high levels of pedestrian movement, being within 400 metres of retail and commercial development and being suitable road types, such as local or collector roads. What those technical criteria basically tell you is that this is all about making it safer for pedestrians and also for other vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, and simply making the areas more amenable, which I think has a commercial flow-on as well.

What we know is that moderation of speed is critical in establishing a safer road system. At lower speeds there are fewer crashes because road users, including pedestrians, have more time for decision making and vehicles have shorter stopping distances. Crashes that do occur in these areas result in less severe injuries because of the lower impact energies involved. In this morning’s discussion about vulnerable road users I was citing some figures essentially about how much more likely somebody is to survive. At 60 kilometres an hour a person is almost certain to perish in an accident. At 40 kilometres an hour that is reduced down to a 25 per cent likelihood of death. So there are very substantial safety improvements as well in the event of accidents.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, what steps are you able to take in regard to traffic light management within these reduced speed zones to limit any driver frustration?

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