Dozens of roads across Melbourne with multiple speed zones will be simplified under sweeping changes to Victoria's speed limit system.
Sign clutter will also be reduced on busy roads, 80 km/h buffer zones will be removed and drivers will eventually see fewer speed zones, with 90km/h and 70 km/h zones to be phased out in the long term.
Minister for Roads Terry Mulder, announced the shake-up today, following a wide-ranging review of the state's speed limit regime. The Speed Limit Advisory Group was involved in developing the recommendations.
The Speed Limit Advisory Group is made up of representatives from Victoria Police, the Department of Justice, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA), the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and Australian Road Research Board (ARRB).
"I called for the review to fix the issues of too many speed limit changes within short distances and too many signs which can confuse drivers," Mr Mulder said.
"The 2011/12 Victorian Speed Limit Review attracted more than 600 submissions from the community and identified numerous locations across Victoria where drivers were confused about the speed limit."
Mr Mulder said he was pleased to present the actions resulting from the Review, one year on from calling for submissions from the public.
"A year ago, I stood on Carlisle Street in Balaclava and called for interested groups and individuals to make submissions to a review of the state's speed limits," Mr Mulder said.
"Carlisle Street was littered with 11 speed limit changes over 4.8 kilometres and drivers were required to interpret the different times when the zones applied," Mr Mulder said.
Under the changes, Carlisle Street will be reduced to just five speed zones.
"This location is a perfect example of community feedback enabling us to identify and fix speed limits that road users found confusing or frustrating because of too many speed limit changes," Mr Mulder said.
VicRoads visited all the locations identified in submissions and consulted with a wide range of stakeholders, including local councils and Victoria Police.
VicRoads will work through the sites to alter signage to reflect a consistent and clear approach to speed limits.
Other priorities for the first year will be reducing sign clutter on busy roads, removing 80 km/h buffer zones and developing comprehensive guidelines for 40 km/h pedestrian zones.
VicRoads Executive Director for Road Safety and Network Access David Shelton, said 80 km/h signs in buffer zones will be replaced with "60 Ahead" signs, allowing drivers to slow down at their own rate.
Mr Shelton said guidelines will also be developed for where and when 40 km/h zones are appropriate.
"Some areas have high levels of pedestrian activity but only at certain times of the day. For example, at school drop-off or pick-up times or at night in restaurant precincts," Mr Shelton said.
"We will aim to reduce the speed limit only at these peak times, so that road users are confident they are slowing down for the safety of pedestrians when necessary."
Mr Shelton said, in the long term, 90 km/h and 70 km/h zones will be phased out so that drivers will be confronted with fewer changes.
"We will review each of the areas with 90 km/h or 70 km/h signs on a case-by-case basis. This will occur with extensive consultation, and won't happen overnight. For now, many 70 km/h and 90 km/h speed limits will remain in place," Mr Shelton said.
"The changes to speed limits represent a balance between smoothing out travel speeds and the safety of all road users."
For a comprehensive and detailed understanding of where and how the changes will apply across the state, view the interactive map at www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/SpeedReview