As part of our State Budget Submission this year, RAC has called on the Government to trial self-explaining 30km per hour zones in appropriate areas. This isn’t a reduction of speed limits on all roads and it also isn’t new. We asked for the same thing in our Budget Submission last year. But, it’s definitely got people talking!

And we’re glad it has – it’s a subject worth talking about. We are calling for a trial of self-explaining roads, only in certain areas where there is high pedestrian and cyclist activity, because we want to do more to make our roads safer. Tragically this year more than half of the fatalities (56 per cent) in the metro area have involved pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists. The facts speak for themselves – we have to do more.

Here is the info you need to know about self-explaining roads.

What a self-explaining road is:

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A self-explaining road in Auckland, New Zealand. Image: Hamish Mackie.

  • These roads are specifically designed to look different to other roads. When you drive along them, your natural instinct will be to slow down because you expect to see people walking or cycling.
  • This could be done by installing features such as roadside street art, more landscaping or trees, pinch points where the road narrows, different road surfaces, cycle lanes or wider footpaths and visually or physically narrowing the traffic lanes.
  • The ‘look and feel’ of the road suits its purpose and the consistency of the design helps drivers instinctively know how they should be driving in these areas.
  • They make it obvious to drivers when and why a speed limit has changed.
  • These roads are more user friendly and the community is often involved in their design.
  • The City of Stirling is already working on self-explaining roads in Innaloo.
  • Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians will still all have the responsibility to share the road with each other.

What a self-explaining road is NOT:

  • It is NOT a blanket speed reduction across all suburban streets. In fact, RAC does not support a blanket reduction of speed limits.
  • It is NOT about installing speed cameras on every corner or handing out more fines.
  • It is NOT a new concept – it’s been implemented successfully elsewhere, here in Australia, in New Zealand and in the UK.
  • It is NOT about installing individual speed calming measures, like speed bumps, in response to complaints.

Self-explaining roads have been used nationally and internationally to help keep road users safe, so we want to trial it to see if it would work here. If it saves one life or stops a serious injury, we think it’s worth a go.

If you’re interested in the other projects we are asking the Government to fund in this year’s budget, you can read our State Budget Submission online.